Last night’s mayoral election was a landslide of historic proportions – like a Super Bowl blowout where Steve Young runs up the score by throwing six touchdowns. Bill de Blasio won by the largest margin of any non-incumbent mayor in the city’s modern history – shattering Abe Beame’s winning margin record set in 1973 and Jimmy Walker’s raw percentage record set in 1925.
Sadly, another record that’s quite close to being broken is the lowest voter turnout for a mayoral race. By my math, about 1.03 million people voted – without absentee and emergency ballots counted. That means we’re on track to having the lowest percentage voting turnout ever and the lowest number of raw votes since women won the right to vote in New York State in 1917.
According to the Edison Research exit poll, de Blasio dominated virtually every demographic group – except white men, who Lhota narrowly won over 48% to 46% but well within the poll’s margin of error. In four boroughs, De Blasio swamped Lhota, who prevailed only on Staten Island. (Indicative of its disorganization last night, Lhota’s campaign couldn’t even set the riser height correctly for cameras, leaving the candidate talking in a cloud of heads.)
With Scott Stringer easily winning the Comptroller’s race and Letitia James romping in her run for Public Advocate, the Democrats made a clean sweep of the three citywide offices – also picking up an open City Council seat to bring their lopsided advantage to 48 seats over the Republican Party’s three City Councilmen.
A little history was made as well: James will be the first African-American woman to hold a citywide office while Ken Thompson will be Brooklyn’s first African-American district attorney.
Gov. Cuomo also has to be smiling. His push behind a statewide gambling referendum was successful with 57% of voters backing it, all but ensuring that four casinos will be built upstate – and the possibility that others could be built in the city in the future.
With the lackluster general election campaign behind us, let’s hope that the old, bold de Blasio returns to his roost, making some interesting decisions in a crucial two-month transition period. The Bloomberg era is now officially in twilight and the next chapter in the city’s political history is about to begin.