Just a handful of Democratic voters will likely choose the city’s next comptroller and public advocate, in what is expected to be a very low-turnout run-off on Sept. 29. On primary day, Sept. 15, only 11 percent of the city’s voters bothered to come out. The races for public advocate and comptroller were the nail-biters of the day, with no candidate broaching the 40 percent mark needed to avoid a run-off. And in a city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a large margin, the winners of these two contests next Tuesday will likely cruise to an easy victory in November.
Public advocate hopefuls Mark Green and Council Member Bill de Blasio will face each other. In an upset, de Blasio bested Green, the former public advocate who is trying to reclaim his seat, by a margin of 32 percent to 30 percent.
On the East Side, Green’s main base of support, de Blasio edged out his rival by 385 votes.
Council Member Eric Gioia and civil rights attorney Norman Siegel received 18 percent and 14 percent of the total vote, respectively.
Green, with wide name recognition, was expected to be in the lead, but de Blasio, who enjoys immense union support, pulled ahead. Green is trying to paint de Blasio as a political insider, tying him to the Council’s slush fund scandal. Green said that de Blasio doled out taxpayer money to nonprofits, which then donated the money back to his campaign.
For his part, de Blasio has criticized Green for being absent from city issues since he left office in 2001, after failing to beat Bloomberg in the mayor’s race that year.
For comptroller, Council members John Liu and David Yassky will face off again in the Sept. 29 run-off. Liu nearly avoided a run-off with 38 percent of the vote. Yassky, from Brooklyn, came in second with 31 percent.
Yassky was the clear favorite on the East Side, receiving 7,668 votes. East Siders’ second choice, Melinda Katz, got 3,359. When Katz failed to make it to the run-off, she endorsed Yassky.
Overall Katz got 20 percent of the city’s vote and Council Member David Weprin came in last place with 11 percent.
Liu, from Queens, is seeking to be the first Asian-American elected to citywide office. He has strong union support, including the labor-backed Working Families Party, and he is popular among minority voters. Weprin also threw his support to Liu.
While running third in the polls, Yassky leapt to second place after key endorsements from the New York Times, the Daily News and his former boss, Sen. Chuck Schumer. Yassky has pulled support from his home borough of Brooklyn and Manhattan’s liberal base.
“We’ve had a great first phase of the campaign, and now we’re going to make it count by building on our momentum over the next two weeks,” Yassky wrote in an email to supporters.
Moments after the polls closed, the general election between Thompson and Mayor Michael Bloomberg began, with both candidates lobbing blistering attacks at each other.
Thompson reiterated his claim that Bloomberg favors the wealthy, and that he overturned the will of the voters with his extension of the city’s two-term limit for local office holders. Using the slogan, “Eight is Enough,” the Democratic mayoral nominee began soliciting $8 donations.
Though Bloomberg was unopposed for the Republican nomination, he held a lavish party along the Hudson River in Manhattan. There, the mayor slammed “politics as usual,” which is part of his new ad slogan, “Progress. Not Politics.”
One sign that the mayor might not be a shoo-in for re-election were the results of several City Council elections. Backlash to the term-limit extension appeared to play a role in ousting four incumbents, with two more hanging on by a handful of votes, certain for a recount. Nearly all of the Council members who survived contentious races received less than half of the total vote. Even Council Speaker Christine Quinn only received 52 percent of the vote against two spirited challengers.
“Even though few voters voted, the ones who did spoke loud and clear in turning out and voting against incumbents,” said Dick Dadey, executive director of the good-government group, Citizens Union. “That is a loud shout to the city’s elected leadership.”
The biggest winner in Manhattan on primary night was Cy Vance, who is all but assured to be Manhattan’s next district attorney, with no Republican running for that seat. With 44 percent of the vote, Vance beat 2005 candidate Leslie Crocker Snyder and newcomer Richard Aborn.
In the East Side’s District 4, two Republicans faced off for the right to go against Council Member Dan Garodnick—an uphill battle, considering the incumbent’s popularity and the district’s Democratic lean. Ashok Chandra, a native Texan and member of the New York Young Republican Club, beat the Manhattan Republican Party’s candidate, Neal D’Alessio, 477 to 239.
“My campaign has brought a lot of people out of the woodwork; Young Republicans who in the past haven’t been Republicans. They’re very conservative about fiscal issues,” Chandra said in an interview before the primary.
Tags: Bill de Blasio, bill thompson, comptroller, Cy Vance, Dan Garodnick, David Yassky, Eric Gioia, John Liu, Leslie Crocker Snyder, Mark Green, Melinda Katz, Neal D’Alessio, Norman Siegel, Politics, Public Advocate, Richard Aborn, run-off
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