6 November 2013, 10:03

Tale of two cities – De Blasio sweeps New York

By Vasili Sushko

WASHINGTON (VOR) – Election day has passed and the votes are in, Democrat Bill de Blasio will be New York City’s next mayor.

De Blasio garnered 73 percent of the vote and defeated Republican Joe Lhota in a landslide victory. Across the river, New Jersey voted in favor of Republican Chris Christie for governor. He defeated Democratic rival Barbara Buono by a vote of 60 to 38. Our New York Correspondent Vasili Sushko reports.

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It wasn’t much of surprise coming into Election Day that Bill de Blasio would do significantly well, but the wide margin is one that hasn’t been seen in a New York City mayoral race for decades. De Blasio managed to secure a whopping 73 percent of the vote, defeating Republican Joe Lhota by just under 50 points. De Blasio, who is stepping down as public advocate, led in the polls leading up to election day, a sharp turnaround since the summer when he was coming in fourth in the polls. During a victory speech last night, de Blasio thanked his supporters, and addressed the issues at hand for New York’s future.

“I will never stop fighting for the city I love, for the city we all love so much, and I will never forget, that as mayor, I work for you.” – Bill de Blasio, New York City mayor elect

Throughout his campaign, de Blasio often referred to New York as a “tale of two cities,” citing that the gap was growing between the rich and the poor. During his speech, de Blasio further vowed to help eradicate that gap and promised to continue to fight for all.

“We know that we are not defined by the cold steel of our skyscrapers but by the strength and compassion and boldness of our collective spirit. That inequality, that feeling, of a few doing very well, while so many would slip further behind. That is the defining challenge of our times. For generations, New York has meant opportunity, that's what it has been for so many and that's what it must be again.” – Bill de Blasio, New York City mayor elect

Less than an hour after polls closed in New York, Lhota delivered his concession speech, where he tipped his cap to de Blasio.

“The contest has been long and it’s been difficult. [De Blasio’s] success alone however demands my respect.” – Joe Lhota, Republican nominee for New York City Mayor

With de Blasio set to take office beginning in January, some immediate changes are expected. First, de Blasio has vowed to replace NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, who de Blasio referred to as the “architect” of the controversial policy of stop-and-frisk. In addition, de Blasio has vowed to change the cities tax code to allow higher property taxes for the wealthy in order to fund a universal pre-kindergarten program, a move that would first need approval from the state. New York City’s Gracie Mansion, which has been used as administrative space during current New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tenure, will once again be a home.

 

On the other side of the river, not many changes will be coming to New Jersey, where Republican Chris Christie was re-elected for a second term as governor. Christie defeated his democratic rival Barbara Buono by over 22 percent. Christie thanked his supporters during a speech following his victory.

“The only greatest honor and privilege that being a one term governor of New Jersey is being a two term governor of New Jersey. Thank you New Jersey for making me the luckiest guy in the world.” – Chris Christie, New Jersey Governor

Christie gave his speech from the coastal city of Asbury Park, an area that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy one year ago. Christie said helping New Jersey rebuild from the storm would remain one of his top priorities as governor.

“I will not let anyone, anything, any political party and governmental entity or any force to get in between me and the completion of my mission.” – Chris Christie, New Jersey Governor

With Christie winning another election in a predominantly liberal state, it puts a potential run for president in 2016 back on the drawing board. Christie has yet to confirm whether or not he is willing to run for the nation’s highest office, but he will have few years to figure it out.

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