Letitia James is savoring her win in the Democratic primary for public advocate and her victory is also causing ripple effects in the race for another important city office. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
Letitia James is getting hugs. Her victory in Tuesday's primary runoff all but makes her the city's next public advocate. She faces only minor party opposition in November's general election.
"I can't wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work," James said.
James beat State Senator Daniel Squadron. The three-week runoff campaign had them both trading charges of being too privileged to represent average New Yorkers.
"It was a spirited race. But that's behind us. Today we really need to focus on New Yorkers and all of their concerns," James said.
It's not only the campaigns nastiness that only troubles some. It's also the costliness of the election. The runoff drew fewer than 200,000 voters. That amounts to about $69 a vote on the taxpayers' dime.
Some want instant runoffs, where voters would rank their choices.
"You want to give voters one opportunity to participate in a very important election - and not burden them with having to come back a second time to choose among two final candidates," said Dick Dadey of Citizens Union.
James backs the plan, but wants a runoff three weeks later for mayor only.
James' win would make her the first African-American woman to hold citywide office. It also affects the race for a post with arguably more power -- that of City Council speaker.
If she lost, the three Democratic nominees for citywide office would be white men.
And among other considerations, race is said to be factoring in the bid for Council speaker.
"There's still no Latino in city government. And the fact that some people are suggesting that because an African-American woman was elected to public advocate that that's no longer a concern - that seems to lack some racial sensitivity," said Political Consultant Scott Levenson.
The election for speaker happens after new officials are sworn in on New Year's Day including, in all likelihood, Letitia James as the new public advocate.