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Turnout For Public Advocate Runoff May Depend On Mayoral Primary Results

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In three weeks, State Senator Daniel Squadron and City Councilwoman Letitia James will face off in a Democratic runoff for public advocate, and the outcome could be decided by very few voters. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

Letitia James is getting ready for the next phase of her race.

"We're on to victory. Three weeks. Three weeks until victory. Three week until victory. We are going to win," James said.

Daniel Squadron is looking to rally the troops.

"So get ready, because we're heading for the runoff. We have the momentum," Squadron said.

But there is at least one big variable that will greatly affect the outcome of this runoff, namely whether Bill de Blasio can avoid one in the mayor's race.

"In '09, there was a comptroller runoff and a public advocate runoff. There's no comptroller runoff obviously in 2013, and there may of course be no mayoral Democratic runoff. If so, the turnout will be abysmally low," said former Public Advocate Mark Green.

How low?

There is actually no precedent for this, since the office of the public advocate is relatively new.

Instead, for a down ballot runoff with no other races, it's necessary to back to the comptroller runoff of 1993, when Alan Hevesl defeated Liz Holtzman.

Ten percent of the voters participated in that election, and only eight percent participated in the public advocate runoff of 2009.

Green says the office is important, and people should not assume it has no power just because it has a small budget.

"Well there's a conventional wisdom that's not only wrong, but stupid. True, the public advocate office has a small budget, because when it does its job, an annoyed mayor will try and take the job away and reduce the budget," Green said.

The public advocate's office was a launching pad for Green's mayoral bid in 2001 and de Blasio's this year.

In observance of the 9/11 anniversary, both candidates declined to speak with NY1, but each of them have said they are confident heading into the next phase of this race.

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