By Mary Alice Miller
In the end, it was a bigger blowout than the 40% poll projections predicted: Bill de Blasio was elected the next Mayor of New York City with 73% of the combined Democratic/Working Families vote, 50 points above Joe Lhota’s 23.9%. “My fellow New Yorkers: today, you spoke out loudly and clearly for a new direction in our city, united by a belief that our city should leave no New Yorker behind,” said Mayor-elect de Blasio. He warned that tackling inequality, for decades in the making, won’t be easy. “But make no mistake: the people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set forth on it, together, as one city,” he said.
As Public Advocate, de Blasio made his mark with on-the-ground advocacy by supporting Occupy Wall Street and getting arrested while protesting the closure of LICH. He has campaigned on addressing income inequality and requesting the wealthy pay a small tax increase to pay for universal pre-K.
Letitia James became the first African-American woman elected to citywide office, winning the Public Advocate race with 83.5% of the combined Democratic and Working Families Party vote (832,677 total).
“I ran for Public Advocate to ensure that government safeguards access to opportunity. We won this election because New Yorkers want a strong, activist Public Advocate who has the vision and the guts and the values to stand up for working-class and middle-class New Yorkers and make sure our city works for everyone, not just the wealthy and the well-connected,” said James. “I pledge to you today that that’s the kind of Public Advocate I will be.”
James promised to lead with consensus building and cooperation. “But make no mistake about it,” she said, “if working people are getting a raw deal, I will not capitulate, I will not hold back, and I will not go along to get along. I will be the fierce champion of working-class New Yorkers that you have elected me to be.”
As progressive as de Blasio is, Public Advocate-elect Letitia James is even more to the Left on public policy. And Scott Stringer, who won the Comptroller’s race with 80.5% of the Democratic/Working Families vote (782,703), is a clubhouse Democrat and the most conservative of the three.
Together, they received a mandate to make this city of opportunity more accessible to all.
For the second time in as many months, Ken Thompson defeated 24-year incumbent Charles Hynes, the first defeat of a sitting District Attorney in 55 years. After the 11-point primary upset, Hynes conceded then changed his mind, arguing among other things that he wanted all Brooklyn voters – not just those who voted in the Democratic Primary – to decide. The voters spoke, electing Thompson as Brooklyn’s next District Attorney and the first African-American to take the office. Thompson won with 74.8% of the vote (222,348) to Hynes’ 25.2% (74,943).
“As part of Brooklyn’s great future, we must ensure that no man or woman ever is convicted wrongly… and we must also make sure that we free all the people who have been wrongfully convicted,” said District Attorney-elect Thompson during his victory remarks. In memory of several fallen police officers Thompson said, “We must do all we can to get illegal guns off the streets.” He added, “We must do all we can to end senseless gun violence that is killing our children.”
Speaking of growing up in the projects as a little boy whom very few people thought would “amount to anything in life,” Thompson credited the sacrifice and love of his mother, one of the first female beat cops in the city. Thompson added, “For every boy and girl who may be seeing this in public housing, you can do great things in your life. You must work hard, you must believe you can do it and you must never give up. I am an example of that.”
With 90.8% of the vote, Eric Adams was elected the first African-American Borough President for Brooklyn. “The challenge in front of us is clear, and our mandate simple,” said Borough President-elect Adams, “to raise up all Brooklynites with a safer, more prosperous, more affordable borough.”
Robert Cornegy (36th Council District), Laurie Cumbo (35th) and Inez Barron (40th) became the newest local members of the City Council. Darlene Mealy, Jumaane Williams and Mathieu Eugene were reelected.
New York State voters elected to change the state constitution by allowing up to seven new casinos in New York, with a lion’s share of the mandate coming from downstate counties, although there will be no opportunity for a casino in NYC for seven years. Voters supported additional civil service credit for veterans with disabilities certified post-appointment, but turned down the proposal to allow certain judges to serve until age 80.