Addressing a cheering crowd outside The Bell House in Brooklyn late Tuesday evening, Bill de Blasio credited his strong showing in the day’s Democratic mayoral primary election to his energetic grass roots supporters. “That’s how we change this city,” he told supporters before aides shepherded him inside for his election night victory party.
Bill de Blasio’s focus on change reflects his meteoric rise to success on a platform of reform. As the New York Times' Michael Barbaro points out, while the other candidates campaigned on "tinkering" with outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s agenda, longtime activist de Blasio pledged to overturn major hallmarks of the Bloomberg administration, including the controversial stop-and-frisk policing program.
The candidate made headlines for running ads against stop-and-frisk featuring his 16-year-old biracial son Dante. In the ad, Dante says his father is the only candidate that will end stop-and-frisk, a program that has disproportionately affected minority communities.
Dante was at de Blasio’s side Tuesday night as the candidate arrived with his family at The Bell House.
Bill de Blasio's broader effort to focus on inequality and community issues resonated across the city.
According to New York Times data, de Blasio received a plurality of support from voters in every borough, of every religion, and at every education and income level. He won white voters, Hispanic voters, LGBT voters, and both male and female voters. He tied with African-American candidate Bill Thompson in winning support from black voters.
The supporters at de Blasio’s "block party" on Tuesday night reflected the diversity of the candidate’s support across the city and the resonance of his message countering inequality.
"I like what he has to say; he didn’t pull any punches," said Dana Beauford, a city worker from the Bronx. "We need somebody like Bill de Blasio." She appreciated de Blasio's opposition to stop-and-frisk and his support for keeping community hospitals open.
"What really stood out was [him] including the outer boroughs and addressing the inequality in the city," said her son, Jelani Wheeler, a student at St. John’s University who volunteered with the campaign.
Eric Weltman of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, echoed Wheeler’s comments about inequality in the city. “[de Blasio] talked about the growing wealth divide, which is obviously very visible in the city and around the country. I think he’s somebody who’s genuinely going to take a stab at making this a city where people of average or even low-income means can sustain and support themselves.”
A supporter of de Blasio since his days on City Council, Weltman also highlighted education as a top concern.
Elsewhere in the city, fellow Democratic mayoral candidate hopefuls held more subdued election night parties.
With de Blasio hovering around the 40% threshold in early returns, distant second-place finisher Bill Thompson may have to wait until next week for a recount to find out whether he will face de Blasio in a runoff. With 98% of precincts reporting, Thompson received 26.0% of the vote.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn finished an even more distant third with 15.5% of the vote. Once presumed heir apparent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, she struggled to distinguish herself from unpopular Bloomberg policies like stop-and-frisk. As Saeed Jones at BuzzFeed notes, Quinn’s historic campaign as an LGBT candidate for NYC mayor as was not enough for her to even capture the LGBT vote.
As this pundit predicted, John Liu beat his polls for a respectable 7.0% finish, leaving former U.S. House Rep Anthony Weiner in fifth place with just 4.9% of the vote.
In his concession speech, disgraced ex-congressman Weiner humbly noted that he was an “imperfect messenger.” No kidding.
For more PolicyMic NYC primary election coverage, check out the election liveblog.