De Blasio leading in NYC mayoral primary: Can he avoid a runoff?
With 87 percent of precincts reporting, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio held a clear lead in the Democratic primary with about 39.6 percent of the total vote. To avoid a runoff, he'll have to clear 40 percent.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio held a clear lead Tuesday night in New York City's Democratic mayoral primary as polls closed, according to early and incomplete voting returns. It was unclear, though, whether he would top the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff.Skip to next paragraph
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De Blasio's rise in the race to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg was as sudden as it was unexpected.
Not even two months ago, he was an afterthought in the campaign but surged in part thanks to an ad blitz that centered on his interracial family, his headline-grabbing arrest while protesting the possible closure of a Brooklyn hospital, and the defection of ex-congressman Anthony Weiner's former supporters in the wake of another sexting scandal.
With 87 percent of precincts reporting, de Blasio has about 39.6 percent of the total vote. Former city Comptroller Bill Thompson has 26 percent, and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has 15 percent. They were followed by current city Comptroller John Liu at 7 percent and Weiner at 5 percent.
Exit polling showed the appeal of de Blasio, the city's elected public advocate, to be broad-based: He was ahead in all five boroughs; was ahead of Thompson, the only African-American candidate, with black voters and ahead of Quinn, the lone woman in the race, with female voters. He also led Quinn, who is openly gay, among gay voters.
The voter interviews were conducted by Edison Media Research for The Associated Press and other news organizations.
If no candidate surpasses 40 percent of the vote, the top two finishers advance to an Oct. 1 runoff.
The winner of that contest will face the Republican nominee Joe Lhota in the Nov. 5 general election. Lhota, ex-MTA chairman and former deputy mayor to Rudolph Giuliani, defeated billionaire grocery magnate John Catsimatidis for the GOP nomination.
In the closely watched race for city comptroller, exit interviews show Manhattan Borough President Stringer running ahead of ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who was seeking a return to politics after resigning New York's governor's office in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal.
The winner of the mayor's race in November will assume the helm of the nation's largest city at a critical juncture, as it experiences shrinking crime rates yet widening income inequality, and as the nearly completed One World Trade Center building symbolizes a new era after the terrorist attacks of 2001.
Bloomberg, the businessman Republican-turned-independent, is completing his third term. While the city's registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 6 to 1, the GOP's recent success in mayoral elections has been largely attributed to a crime epidemic, the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks or other extraordinary circumstances.