Who stands behind an elected official, in view of the cameras, during a speech is just as important as the speech itself in political circles. If Public Advocate and New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio demonstrated anything, it’s that he wanted to be seen as a man of the people.
With members of 1199SEIU, the New York State Nurses Association and the coalition Fast Food Forward standing on stage, de Blasio took to the podium at the Bell House, a music venue in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn, to relish the cheers and the shouts of his supporters. De Blasio had reached the 40 percent he needed to win the primary, and while all votes weren’t in and the race hadn’t been called yet as of press time, de Blasio spoke like a man who was sure it was his time in the spotlight.
“You made this campaign a cause, and I would like to say thank you for elevating it to that level,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio revisited his campaign’s talking points, from stop-and-frisk to his “A Tale of Two Cities” narrative. “There are those who have said that our vision for this city is too big, that we are asking of wealthy New Yorkers too much,” said de Blasio. “That we have set our sights for our children too high, that we are guilty—guilty, my friends—of thinking too big. But let me say this: We are New Yorkers, proud citizens of the greatest city on earth. Thinking big isn’t new to us. It is the very foundation of who we are.”
As of press time, with 98 percent of precincts reporting, de Blasio led all Democratic nominees with 40.18 percent of the vote. Bill Thompson held second place with 26.11 percent of the vote and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn rounded out the top three at 15.47 percent.
While de Blasio’s camp is already celebrating their path to November, Thompson stated that he’s not conceding anything until every vote is counted. He reminded those in attendance at his primary party of how close he was to becoming mayor back in 2009.
“We took Mike Bloomberg on, and we almost beat him,” said Thompson. “Now we’re going to finish what we started. Every voice in New York City counts. And we’re going to wait for every voice to be heard. We’re going to wait for every voice to be counted. So my friends, this is far from over.” Thompson then began a chant of “three more weeks” with the crowd.
As of AmNews press time, Thompson was heavily contemplating a runoff. So when he returned an AmNews phone call, he said, “I think there are only 780 votes that keep Bill de Blasio out of a runoff. They are going to do a recanvass of the machines on Friday and Saturday. There’s also between 16,000 and 20,000 paper—absentee—ballots at least that will be counted on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.” In the interim, Thompson said, “We will be trying to pull the possibility of a runoff campaign together. So we are talking to a number of supporters about that.”
He added that he was in the midst of filing a request for “court supervision of the ballot counting process as opposed to it just being left to the Board of Elections.” “It’s going to be a one-on-one campaign. Just me and de Blasio.”
Anthony Weiner’s campaign despite emerging as a possible favorite, Weiner finished in fifth place behind New York City Comptroller John Liu with 4.91 percent of the vote.
“We had the best ideas. Sadly, I was an imperfect messenger,” said Weiner during his concession speech.
Joe Lhota quietly secured the Republican nomination for mayor, defeating John Catsimatidis and George McDonald with 52.50 percent of the vote (with 98 percent of precincts reporting at press time).
During his victory speech, Lhota took a thinly-veiled shot at one of de Blasio’s narratives. “I’m hearing an awful lot coming from the other side about ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ and how they want to tear down the progress that’s happened over the last 20 years,” said Lhota. “This tale is nothing more than class warfare.”
In the public advocate race, Daniel Squadron and Letitia James emerged with a guaranteed runoff showdown on Oct. 1. With 98 percent of precincts reporting at press time, James finished with 36.04 percent of the vote, and Squadron finished second with 33.14 percent of the vote. Reshma Saujani, who received endorsements from rappers like Raekwon, finished in third place with 15.02 percent of the vote.
“Over the next 21 days, we’ll keep talking about my record—about results, reform and integrity,” said Squadron in a statement. James’ campaign website’s homepage had directions for her supporters on how to donate for the runoff.
A runoff for public advocate, a position many feel is unnecessary, could cost the city up to $20 million. Meanwhile, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer upset former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer with a 52 percent to 48 percent margin.
Despite Spitzer outspending Stringer by a near 10-to-1 margin ($10.8 million to $1.9 million, according to the New York City Campaign Finance Board), polls from as little as a month ago showed that most New Yorkers didn’t know who Stringer was and that Spitzer’s political comeback from a sex scandal failed.
“I am proud to have run a campaign over the past nine weeks that many thought was incapable to mount from the very beginning when we had to gather petitions,” said Spitzer during his concession speech. “But we did it in a way to make me proud of the issues we fought for when I was attorney general and governor.”
Stringer said, “I’ll bring experience and leadership. I will make sure I will make you proud,” he said.
Liu, who came in fourth ahead of Weiner, told the AmNews on Wednesday morning, “I just left the 9/11 memorial, and I am in my office now making sure that everythng is together. As for what comes after—well, there are many options, which I will be discussing with my wife Jenny.” After having “the best night’s sleep in a while,” the seemingly relaxed Liu stated, “They threw many curve balls as possible, and they have not knocked us down. I put everything as humanely possible in this race, and I am satisfied.”