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Bill de Blasio scores landslide victory for NYC mayor

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de blasio Photo Credit: Bill de Blasio celebrates his win at the Park Slope Armory YMCA. (EPA)

Bill de Blasio was elected New York City's first Democratic mayor in 24 years, sweeping Republican Joe Lhota across every demographic.

In his victory speech, De Blasio, said: "My fellow New Yorkers, today you spoke out loudly and clearly for a new direction for the city ... and we're humbled by it."

"I say from the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you for all you have done," he told the crowd of about 4,000 supporters at the Park Slope Armory. "Make no mistake the people of this city have chosen a progressive path and tonight we set for on it together, as one city."

De Blasio, the city's public advocate, won nearly every demographic regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, income, ideology and union membership, according to The New York Times. Results showed Lhota winning only among Republicans and conservatives.

De Blasio won the votes of 69% of men and 79% of women, 55% of whites and 96% of blacks. He got 71 percent of 18-29 year-olds and 68 percent of those older than 65, the Times reported.

Upon hearing the news, de Blasio supporters cheered at the Armory, where his victory party was rolling. A Democrat has not been elected mayor in the city since 1989, when David Dinkins won his first, and only, term.

"I feel wonderful," said Wilbur Devenish, 45, of Crown Heights, an unemployed marketing manager who was standing next to the stage. "Tomorrow's a new day for the city and for me. We have a mayor who's not divisive."

The partygoers included elected officials Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Queens/Manhattan/Brooklyn).

Lhota thanked his family and supporters at about 9:40 during his concession speech at the Gansevoort Park Avenue Hotel in Manhattan.

"I have fought the good fight and I have finished the race," Lhota said. "The road was difficult from the outset ... I wish the outcome could have been different," but "I will not spend one moment of my future regretting what might have been."

In a statement, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: "On a personal level, it is particularly gratifying to see Bill, a true friend and former colleague, win tonight. He has the experience to run New York City, a compelling vision for its future and he and his family epitomize the New York story."

After 12 years of billionaire businessman Michael R. Bloomberg in City Hall, both had candidates touted their ability to bring change to city government.

De Blasio, 52, campaigned on a populist "tale of two cities" platform, vowing to close the gap between rich and poor that he said was fueled by Bloomberg who had close ties to developers and Wall Street.

"Mr. Lhota clearly wants to continue the status quo of the city. I'm calling for fundamental progressive change," de Blasio said as he voted Tuesday in Brooklyn with his family.
Lhota, 59, opposed de Blasio's plans to raise taxes on the wealthy and to rein in the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk tactic.

Lhota, who since the Sept. 10 primary lagged in fundraising and in the polls by about 40 points, earlier Tuesday said he remained "optimistic."

During the campaign, in a city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 6 to 1, Lhota battled to distance himself from his GOP brethren. He voiced scorn for national Republicans, particularly the tea party movement.

The former MTA chairman who served as a deputy mayor and budget director under ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, relentlessly reminded voters that he's a fiscal conservative and social liberal who supports gay marriage, a woman's right to choose and the decriminalization of marijuana. But De Blasio's attacks on Lhota's GOP affiliation resonated with some voters.

"I feel Lhota is in line with the tea party and didn't like how they treated the President [Barack Obama] and how they closed the government," said Otis Brooks, 71, a retired MTA employee, who voted for de Blasio in Queens.

Elhadj Diop, 58, a Queens store owner and Independent, said he voted for de Blasio because Republicans "are getting crazy."

"I used to vote for them. I voted for [former Gov. George] Pataki and Bloomberg," he said. "Until they change I won't vote for them. The Democrats are talking to people."

In Battery Park City Heather Daily, a registered Democrat, cast her ballot for Lhota.

"I am concerned about public safety," she said. "De Blasio is too favorable to the unions, and I wanted [Police Commissioner] Ray Kelly to stay on. I think de Blasio was too tough on him."

De Blasio vowed to seek a higher income tax on those earning above $500,000 a year to pay for universal prekindergarten and middle school after-hours programs.

Lhota said raising taxes would kill jobs. Opposing de Blasio's planned curbs on stop-and-frisk, he said the city is "one bad mayor away" from regressing to the crime and chaos 20 years ago.

Wendy Small, who cast her ballot for de Blasio at I.S. 238 in Jamaica, Queens, Tuesday, said she was voting for change.

"This is an important election because the city has certain things that need to be changed like stop and frisk," she said. "As a mother of an African-American son, and someone who works with African-American youth, the issue is near and dear to my heart. We are not given a fair chance, we are judged even before we speak."

While polls have shown wide support among city residents for a change, Bloomberg generally has received positive job approval ratings. The mayor did not reveal who he voted for Tuesday.

"We'll do everything we can to make the transition be the best transition that any administration has ever done," he said. De Blasio will be sworn in as the city's 109th mayor on Jan. 1, 2014.