Bill de Blasio is one step closer to officially becoming New York City’s newest public advocate. The Brooklyn councilman defeated former Public Advocate Mark Green in a runoff election on Tuesday, taking 62.5 percent of the votes.
The runoff was the result of the September 15 primary election where de Blasio and Green were nearly tied, getting 30 percent of votes and beating out opponents Eric Gioia and Norman Siegel.
Celebrations were in order on Tuesday night at Union Bar in the Gramercy Park section of Manhattan, where de Blasio held his victory party. Hundreds of supporters, campaign workers and politicians packed the bar so tight that the crowd spilled outside.
De Blasio arrived just after 10 p.m., when the final count was announced making him the Democratic candidate for public advocate. De Blasio was joined on stage by his wife, Chirlane, and two children Chiara and Dante.
He was also joined by a parade of elected officials who supported him throughout his campaign, including the current public advocate, Betsy Gotbaum; Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer; and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
“After years of crisscrossing the city and speaking to the people and listening to their needs, we have to spend two more weeks doing the exact same thing,” de Blasio said during his victory speech. “Tonight, the people have responded.”
Not leaving out the efforts of his opponents, de Blasio thanked Green for his years of service to the city. Green called de Blasio shortly before his speech to secede from the race, pledging to work together “to make the city a better place” along with Gioia and Siegel.
Sharing a victory with his colleague, de Blasio took a moment to congratulate John Liu on winning his runoff as the Democratic candidate for city comptroller.
“This is a very proud and historic day for the Asian American community, and John will make a fine comptroller for this city,” he said.
Getting down to business, de Blasio discussed the role New Yorkers played in his win and talked about the rich diversity of the city and the opportunity for everyone to work together.
“What became clear to me in this campaign is that New Yorkers stand by each other,” he said. “We are a compassionate city, despite what some say about us. People of every background find a way to engage.”
De Blasio outlined four items he said need the most attention if he is elected to serve as public advocate in November. They include making changes to the school system, increasing affordable housing, protecting the city’s most vulnerable members of society like children, the poor and the homeless, and better police-community relations.
“All of this will take years of hard work,” he said. “But there is nothing we can’t make better if we believe in ourselves as New Yorkers. As your public advocate I will be your voice, and whenever your government is not there for you, I will stand up for you.”