Bill de Blasio elected New York's first Democrat Mayor in 20 years following landslide election win

De Blasio's charismatic, biracial family offered a big boost in a campaign that focused on economic inequality

New York

Liberal Democrat Bill de Blasio cruised to victory on Tuesday in the race to succeed New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, marking the first time a Democrat has captured City Hall in two decades.

De Blasio, the city's public advocate, was leading Republican rival Joe Lhota 73 per cent to 24 per cent after a campaign in which he railed against economic inequality in America's most populous city, with 56 per cent of precincts reporting.

“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,” de Blasio told a gathering of about 2,000 revellers on Tuesday night in Brooklyn. “The growing inequality we see, the crisis of affordability we face, it has been decades in the making. But its slow creep upon this city cannot weaken our resolve.”

After promising to close the gap between the rich and poor, he now faces the challenge of high expectations - keeping crime at historic lows and reaching a long-overdue wage deal with the city workers' unions.

The 6 ft 5" de Blasio won a hotly contested Democratic primary in September by focusing on the controversial “stop-and-frisk” police tactic endorsed by Bloomberg and by criticizing the billionaire mayor for presiding over “two New Yorks” - one rich, one poor.

He also promoted expanding access to pre-kindergarten, proposing a tax on the city's highest earners to pay for it, and said he would fight to save community hospitals from closing.

But it was de Blasio's charismatic, biracial family that offered perhaps the biggest boost.

A campaign ad featuring de Blasio's teenage son, Dante, who sports a tall Afro, argued that the police department's stop-and-frisk policy unfairly targets young, black men and was easily the most discussed ad of the campaign, transforming Dante into a local celebrity.

“He's the first candidate for mayor in a long time that I'm actually excited about, excited about him helping to bring the city together and deal with issues of poverty,” voter Russell Neufeld, 66, a lawyer, said at his polling site in Brooklyn.

Alan Siege, an adjunct professor who teaches entrepreneurship at the City University of New York, said he voted for de Blasio because of the candidate's message for equality.

“I think it's good to be a manager,” Siege said, speaking of Lhota's experience. “But you have to have a vision too, and I think de Blasio has that.”

Lhota, who was a deputy mayor under Rudolph Giuliani and later headed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, derided de Blasio as a “socialist” and insisted his opponent would lead New York back to its dark days of high crime and poor fiscal management.

In conceding the race on Tuesday night, Lhota congratulated de Blasio but said the campaign had been a “fight worth having.”

“Despite what you might have heard, we are one city,” Lhota said.

Democrats have been locked out of City Hall for two decades despite holding a 6-to-1 registration advantage over Republicans.

Despite his decisive win on Tuesday, de Blasio, who grew up in Boston and served two terms in the City Council, has his work cut out for him.

The city is forecasting a budget gap of $2.2 billion in the next financial year and is facing demands for retroactive pay increases from public sector unions that the current administration estimates could cost the city $4 billion to $8 billion.

“Bill de Blasio is the aspirational mayor and it is always hard to measure aspirations,” said long-time Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf. “He is the vessel for both the positive desires and resentments of a large portion of the city.”

“The expectations on him will be very high,” Sheinkopf said.

Reuters

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'