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Victories for Liu and de Blasio

Herb Boyd | 4/12/2011, 4:37 p.m.

With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Councilman Bill de Blasio defeated Mark Green in the Democratic runoff for public advocate, and Councilman John Liu was a decisive winner over Councilman David Yassky for city comptroller.

Since registered Democrats outnumber Republicans five to one, the two winners are shoo-ins for office.

A Liu victory in November will make him the first Asian American to win a citywide race. His family emigrated from Taiwan when he was a child.

As predicted, the voting was very light, with only 10 percent of the registered Democrats bothering to show up at the polls. Even so, the runoff will cost the city between $13 and $15 million.

The turnout, according to the Associated Press, was 227,489 for the comptroller's race and 220,584 ballots cast in the public advocate's contest.

Both Liu and de Blasio appeared last week at the National Action Network to show their appreciation for the support. Both candidates were endorsed by the Working Families Party.

De Blasio and Liu came close to winning two weeks ago in the general election, though many predicted a closer race between de Blasio and Green, who was twice public advocate and the first to hold the position when it was created in 1993.

Many pundits view the public advocate's seat as a stepping stone to mayor, though thus far such has not been the case. De Blasio said he has no plans to run for mayor.

Among the duties and responsibilities of the public advocate is presiding over all state meetings of the City Council, and de Blasio, a former councilmember from Brooklyn, will be an ex-officio member of all committees in the council with the capacity to introduce and co-sponsor legislation.

Among Liu's duties, should he defeat Republican candidate Joseph Mendola, will be to audit the performance and finances of all city agencies, "making recommendations regarding proposed contracts, issuing reports on the state of the city economy, marketing and selling municipal bonds, managing city debt and serving as managing trustee of the public employees pension funds," according to the official website.

As managing trustee, Liu will supervise some 700 employees and preside over the boards of the funds, along with managing assets. Overall fund governance is with boards of the individual funds.

Given the cost, Mayor Michael Bloomberg voiced no objections to the runoffs, telling NY1, "I don't see anything wrong with runoffs. I think we could solve the problem, however. As you know, I've been a huge supporter for nonpartisan elections. If you think about the number of people who can participate in this runoff, it is very small. When you think about the number of people who actually vote, it is disgracefully small," he said. "I think we can have voting on weekends. We can have automatic voting registration. You can make it somewhat better."