NEW YORK – Bill de Blasio was elected New York City’s first Democratic mayor in two decades Tuesday, running on an unabashedly liberal, tax-the-rich platform that contrasted sharply with billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s record during 12 years in office.
With 21 percent of precincts reporting, De Blasio, the city’s public advocate, had 72 percent of the vote compared with 26 percent for Republican Joe Lhota, former chief of the metropolitan area’s transit agency.
De Blasio, 52, will take office Jan. 1 as the 109th mayor of the nation’s largest city.
He ran as the anti-Bloomberg, railing against economic inequality and portraying New York as a “tale of two cities” – one rich, the other working class – under the pro-business, pro-development mayor, who made his fortune from the financial information company that bears his name.
“Today you spoke loudly and clearly for a new direction for our city,” de Blasio told a rollicking crowd of supporters at the YMCA in his home neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn, a far cry from the glitzy Manhattan hotel ballrooms that usually host election night parties.
“We are united in the belief that our city should leave no New Yorker behind,” he said. “The people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set forth on it together as one city.”
State Rep. Martin Walsh has defeated City Councilor and fellow Democrat John Connolly in a hard-fought race to succeed longtime Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.
With 95 percent of the votes counted, unofficial totals showed Walsh with 51 percent to 49 percent for Connolly, who conceded defeat.
Turnout was brisk Tuesday as voters cast ballots in an election that for the first time in two decades didn’t include Menino’s name at the top of the ticket.
Walsh, 46, relied on support from labor organizations to help his get-out-the-vote drive.
A former medical center chief defeated a county sheriff to become the next mayor of financially troubled Detroit, though the job holds little power while the city is being run by a state-appointed emergency manager.
Unofficial returns showed Mike Duggan defeating Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon 55 percent to 45 percent. Napoleon conceded defeat in a race where he was outspent by Duggan by about 3-to-1.
Both candidates had said during the campaign that the state-appointed emergency manager should leave the city and allow the new mayor to fix Detroit’s finances when he takes office in January.
“I’m going to try to shorten Kevyn Orr’s stay,” Duggan told the Associated Press heading into the election.
But the reality is that Duggan will have little power under emergency manager Orr, who in July filed to take Detroit into bankruptcy.
Duggan, an ex-county prosecutor and former chief of the Detroit Medical Center, said he wants to convince Orr’s boss, Gov. Rick Snyder, to allow him to develop a team and a plan to resuscitate the city’s fiscal condition if elected mayor.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has been elected to a second term, defeating three little-known challengers as he continues to raise his profile overseeing a key city in the South.
Preliminary election results showed Reed winning another four year-term in Tuesday’s election.
Reed, a former state lawmaker, is perhaps best known outside the city for his strong support of President Barack Obama and his working relationship with Republican Gov. Nathan Deal on issues including economic development and transportation.
In making his case to voters, Reed touted reforms to the city’s pension system, efforts to reduce crime and his hiring of additional police officers. Reed has faced criticism over a plan to use public financing to help support a new NFL stadium and efforts to regulate the selling of goods on public streets.
Minneapolis City Council member Betsy Hodges, a fiscal hawk hoping to make the jump to mayor of Minnesota’s largest city, took a commanding lead Tuesday evening in a crowded race not expected to be decided for at least another day under the city’s ranked-choice voting system.
Hodges had about 36 percent of the vote, well ahead of former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrew’s 25 percent. Both were among several Democrats hoping to succeed R.T. Rybak, who didn’t seek a third term as the leader of this heavily liberal city.
Rybak’s decision, along with the city’s paltry $20 filing fee, led to a massive ballot of 35 candidates, many of them gadflies. Voters were confounded further by the first real test of ranked choice voting, which eliminated the traditional primary that would have thinned the field.
“I miss being able to vote for one guy or one gal,” said Darryl Merwin, who voted Tuesday morning at a senior apartment building just north of downtown. Still, the retired maintenance worker dutifully ranked his top three candidates: a moderate Republican, an independent businesswoman and a Democratic member of the City Council.
“I have no idea if I did it right,” Merwin said.
In this off-year election, residents in several Minnesota cities were choosing mayors and council members. In St. Paul, incumbent Chris Coleman rolled to a third term in unofficial results.