Everyone thought that the runoff for public advocate was going to be close. Some even thought Mark Green might win, but much to our delight, Bill de Blasio beat Mark Green by 25 percent. That is incredible considering the name recognition that Green has and the fact that he had held the office before. This shows that there really was Mark Green fatigue and that he is certainly past his prime. It is better for all of us if he just goes off and writes books now. That is something he is good at. The huge win may be partially attributable to the Working Families Party. The WFP GOTV (Get Out the Vote) efforts were substantial, making it a party to watch in the coming years.
Founded only 11 years ago, the Working Families Party is a combination of community organizations, neighborhood activists and labor unions. Many of their candidates did quite well in the City Council races and they were supporters of John Liu’s successful bid in the comptroller’s race. But the real coup for the party so far has been its aggressive push for de Blasio. De Blasio still faces token opposition from a Republican challenger in November, but for all intents and purposes, we can expect that he will be the city’s next public advocate. Bringing new blood to that post is a win for the city and the de Blasio family and his political team.
In the comptroller race, John Liu’s victory over fellow Councilman David Yassky by 11 percent is a historic win. A clear victory that falls squarely in the hands of uber-strategist Bill Lynch. Lynch was the mastermind behind the coalition that led the way to David Dinkins being elected the first Black mayor of New York City. Lynch and his team were also behind the decisive win of Cy Vance for Manhattan district attorney. And with Liu’s win, Team Lynch can say they had a critical hand in helping to elect the first Asian-American to citywide office in any part of the country outside of the West Coast.
The Liu win was a coalition seldom seen in this city. Liu was not the candidate of the establishment–the “paper of record” and the two tabloids backed Yassky–it was a coalition of the “others.” Non-white New Yorkers came together for one of their own. This is the first time we have seen the Black and brown communities so strongly support someone from the Asian community. This truly created a rainbow coalition that was able to beat the establishment.
To help build his coalition, Liu relied on the endorsement of community papers–the papers that really reach the heart of the city. He also received the endorsement of the unions, the workers of the city. And he had people of all faiths as well as strong, grassroots organizations support him. He reached the real people of this city and called their names and said I am one of you. He told his story and it resonated. He will be a great comptroller.
And as the final Democratic slate has shaped up, it represents the best of what New York has to offer: the first-generation immigrant who works well with all communities; an Italian-American man who has not only been a friend of the African-American community, but has embraced our race in his home life; and Bill Thompson, who has spent his career working to make a better New York for people of all races.
The billionaire mayor–and richest guy in town–certainly has his hands full now, no matter how many of his millions he may spend to try and buy the mayoral race and our city.