De Blasio wins convincingly in NYC (Video)

Democrat Bill de Blasio won a convincing victory over Republican Joe Lhota in Tuesday’s New York City mayoral election.

The Associated Press called the race about an hour after polls closed at 9 p.m. ET. The New York Times, CNN and other New York news outlets earlier in the hour. 

De Blasio led Lhota 62 to 36 percent with less than one percent of precincts reporting their results. 

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De Blasio was expected to win in a landslide amid recent polls showing him with a lead of more than 40 percentage points. In the most recent Quinnipiac University poll, de Blasio led Lhota 65 to 26 percent.

The mayor-elect spent Election Day in Brooklyn, greeting voters and celebrating his victory — in advance — at a local YMCA.

De Blasio is the first Democrat to lead City Hall since David Dinkins held the seat from 1990 through 1993. De Blasio served as an aide to Dinkins. Since 2010, he’s served as the city’s public advocate.

De Blasio began the mayoral campaign as something of an afterthought, trailing the early favorite — City Council Speaker Christine Quinn — in polls through much of the summer.

He was overshadowed amid the media frenzy that surrounding the political comeback attempt of former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D), whose campaign at first surged, then collapsed amid fresh revelations he exchanged sexually explicit photos and texts with a young woman, Sydney Leathers. 

De Blasio benefitted most from Weiner’s downfall and has been the odds-on favorite to replace three-term Mayor Michael Bloomberg since winning the Democratic primary in September.  

Former city comptroller Bill Thompson finished a relatively close second, but conceded before a runoff became plausible.

The other top Democrats included Quinn, Comptroller John Liu and Weiner.

Weiner briefly led the New York City polls in June amid a redemption campaign aimed at putting a prior sexting scandal behind him. He resigned from Congress in 2011 after admitting to tweeting explicit photos of himself.

Quinn, who would have been the city’s first lesbian mayor, was also an early favorite among voters, but suffered in the end because of her close relationship with Bloomberg.

De Blasio ran on an entirely progressive platform: he sharply criticized Bloomberg’s “stop-and-frisk” policy, he proposed raising taxes for the wealthy, and said he’d subsidize the expansion of pre-K and after-school programs.

Lhota, on the other hand, said he opposed raising taxes and endorsed “stop-and-frisk” as an essential way to fight crime.

The Republican, a veteran of the Rudy Giuliani administration, served as the former mayor’s finance commissioner, director of the office of management and budget, and deputy mayor for operations.

He has also worked as executive vice president of Cablevision and Lightpath, and served as the chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

This is de Blasio’s first high-profile election, but he had previous experience running one. He served as Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager for her successful campaign for U.S. Senate from New York in 2000.

During President Clinton’s administration, de Blasio served as a regional director at the Department of Housing and Urban Development when current New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) served as HUD’s secretary.

This is also the first mayoral election since 2001 without Bloomberg running. He won that year, as well as in the 2005 and 2009 elections after having his term limits extended to three terms instead of two. 

De Blasio will be sworn in on Jan. 1, 2014. 

This post was updated at 9:56 p.m.