New York Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio and his family celebrate a strong primary showing at his campaign headquarters Tuesday night. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Bloomberg thought that was a negative assessment.
That worked for Democratic primary voters. With more than 98 percent of the votes counted, de Blasio was winning a high enough percentage of the vote—just over 40 percent—to possibly avoid a runoff election with the next strongest Democratic finisher.
The margins were such that a runoff might still be required: de Blasio had 40.2 percent of the votes as of Wednesday morning with thousands of paper ballots yet to be counted. Even when the initial count is completed, a recount could still give a runoff slot to second-place finisher William Thompson, who trailed de Blasio by almost 100,000 votes.
The wide lead that de Blasio ran up in Tuesday’s voting was a remarkable development for a candidate who just a few weeks ago was running fourth in the polls.
The de Blasio surge signaled an embrace of a populist politics that the candidate, at his packed election night party in Brooklyn, described as an “unapologetically progressive alternative to the Bloomberg era.”
Like most of the other contenders in a crowded field of Democratic candidates, the city’s elected Public Advocate embraced a socially-liberal agenda on issues such as marriage equality. But de Blasio did not stop there. He ran on a platform that proposed to increase taxes on the rich in order to raise $500 billion to fund education and community initiatives.