For the first time in 12 years, Michael Bloomberg's name is not on the ballot for New York City mayoral race. Rather, we see a Democratic primary that may actually end the race all together as Bill de Blasio nears the 40% voter mark. Clinching this would avoid a runoff between the top two Democratic contenders and advance the mayoral race to the general election against top Republican candidates Joe Lhota or John Catsimatidis. According to the most recent Quinnipiac Poll, Public Advocate De Blasio has 39% support from likely Democratic voters, former comptroller William Thompson has 25%, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has 18%, and former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner takes 6%.
The captivating thing about this race is that for the first time since David Dinkins, the first New York African American Mayor in 1990, Democratic candidates have a decisive edge over Republicans. Roughly 700,000 Democrats are expected to cast ballots compared to the Republican turnout of only 60,000. Leading candidate Bill de Blasio in particular has gathered most of his sweeping support through his campaigns' centerpiece issues: fighting inequality and improving public education.
Due to the city's liberal leanings and recent pushback against the Bloomberg administration's particular attention to Manhattan elites, this primary is a de facto election in itself as most of today's winners will easily defeat the Republican opposition Lhota or Catsimatidis.
This is where de Blasio pulled much of his most recent support. By being vocal about Bloomberg's neglect of the outer borough's middle class, he has swept the disenchanted public off its feet. De Blasio also focused on promising a "clean break" from the Bloomberg era by focusing on affordable housing, income inequality, education, raising taxes on the most wealthy, and ending the controversial New York stop-and-frisk police practice. His loud opposition to Bloomberg proved a crippling angle to his opponent Quinn, who supported the mayor when he wanted to overturn the city's term limits law, which allows for a third mayoral term.
Interestingly, de Blasio, who is white, is leading in gaining the support of the African-American demographic, even against his only black competitor Thompson. This is partly a result of his racially-mixed family who have been a central part of his campaigning practices. His 15-year-old son has made was featured in a campaign commercial now known as the "Dante effect" in which he said his father is "the only Democrat who has the guts to break from the Bloomberg years" and "can end the stop-and-frisk policy that unfairly targets people of color." This ad hit a home run the moment Bloomberg told New York Magazine that it was part of de Blasio's "racist" campaign since it was "making an appeal using his family to gain support."
Ultimately, Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, stated that de Blasio has led his competitors due to the successful timing in advertising his campaign. Quinn, whose campaign was strengthened by her strong support within LGBT communities in Chelsea and the village, has lately been weakened by her ties with Bloomberg policies. Thompson is unlikely to uphold his promise of "no new taxes" if he wants to enforce an additional 2,000 members of the police force, and Weiner's downfall … well … let's just say he's been a little too transparent with the city's constituents.
Today's main question is whether or not de Blasio can garner the 40% of votes needed to avoid a runoff against Quinn or Thompson. I expect he will do so and become the next mayor of NYC.