De Blasio Holds Big NYC Primary Lead, but Remains in Danger of Runoff

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 11 2013 1:12 AM

De Blasio Holds Big NYC Primary Lead, but Remains in Danger of Runoff

Bill de Blasio
New York City mayoral candidate and New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio participates in a panel at the Minority and Women Business Enterprise Conference in New York, June 12, 2012.

Photo by Keith Bedford/Reuters

Bill de Blasio on Tuesday seemingly completed his rather remarkable run from also-ran to front-runner to succeed New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, easily finishing first in the Democratic primary. The looming question as Tuesday night turned into Wednesday morning, however, was whether his tally would remain above the threshold needed to avoid a runoff when the final votes were counted—and likely recounted.

With 97 percent of the precincts reporting, de Blasio was sitting at 40.2 percent, easily besting Democratic rivals Bill Thompson (26.0 percent) and Christine Quinn (15.5) by double digits. But de Blasio's margin of victory will be largely wasted if when all is said and done it falls below the all-important 40-percent mark needed to avoid a Democratic runoff. If his tally falls below that mark, he and Thompson would face off over the next three weeks to determine who advances to the general election to meet Joe Lhota, the former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority who won the GOP primary Tuesday night. According to the New York Times, election officials say that it could take a week before all the ballots are counted.

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Given the makeup of New York City's electorate, de Blasio (or Thompson) would be the favorite in the general election—even though NYC voters haven't elected a Democrat in more than two decades.

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Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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