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BY SAM SPOKONY and JOSH ROGERS | Bill de Blasio trounced Republican Joe Lhota in the race for mayor and will be taking over City Hall in January.
With virtually all election precincts reporting, de Blasio, who will be the first Democratic mayor in 20 years, won with over 73 percent of the vote.
In his victory speech to a crowd of around 2,000 supporters in Brooklyn, de Blasio drilled home the points he made throughout his campaign — all of which were fundamentally based on a left-leaning, progressive approach to tackling the city’s problem of social and economic inequality.
“Today you spoke out loudly and clearly for a new direction for our city, united by a belief that our city could leave no New Yorker behind,” said de Blasio, who is currently the city’s public advocate. “The challenges we face have been decades in the making, and the problems we’ve set out to address will not be solved overnight. But make no mistake, the people of this city have chosen a progressive path.
“I’ve spoken throughout this campaign about a tale of two cities,” de Blasio continued. “That inequality, that feeling of a few doing very well while so many slip further behind — that is the defining challenge of our time, because inequality in New York is not something that only threatens those who are struggling. The stakes are so high for every New Yorker. And making sure no son or daughter of New York falls behind defines the very promise of our city.”
The mayor-elect’s strong showing was matched Downtown, where interviews with a handful of voters indicated strong support.
“I think de Blasio is more in touch with the real population of New York, not just wealthy business people,” said Yvette Velez, 40, a Tribeca resident, who added that she likes current Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but believes that he has focused far too much on the city’s affluent community.
Downtowners also said they liked de Blasio’s emphasis on expanding pre-K programs and taxing the wealthy to pay for it.
John Scott, a Democratic district leader from Independence Plaza, said he thinks the tax plan has a good chance to pass in Albany despite what others have said.
“I remember that Gov. Cuomo was originally against raising the millionaires tax, but he changed after people put a lot of pressure on him,” Scott said.
In an interview with Downtown Express back in May, de Blasio said he would be inclined to keep the proposed security protections around the World Trade Center and Police Plaza.
As for protecting Lower Manhattan from future storms, he said he liked Mayor Bloomberg’s ideas about temporary barriers, but “I feel more sureness on [changing] building codes, on incentives to get folks out of the areas below sea level, and on wetlands restoration or creation.”
During the second mayoral debate, he praised Bloomberg’s comprehensive report on protecting the city from storms, including the “Seaport City” notion of building something akin to Battery Park City on the East River.