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Bill de Blasio has always been a bit of a pain in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s side. Come this January, it looks like he’s going to get paid to do that and then some.
In a runoff election that was high on negativity and low on voter turnout, the lanky Park Slope pol handily defeated challenger Mark Green by 25 points, cementing de Blasio as New York City’s next public advocate.
Blowing kisses to a room filled with supporters at the Union Bar in Midtown Manhattan -- far from the DUMBO digs where he spent primary night --de Blasio said that he will support all New Yorkers.
“Whenever the government is not there, I will stand up for you,” he said, slipping into the city ombudsman role that -- with no viable Republican challenger -- is almost assuredly his. “There is nothing we can’t make better if we believe in ourselves.”
According to unofficial numbers, de Blasio secured 62.5 percent of the vote, receiving 138,555 of the 221,701 votes cast.
Green, who established the public advocate position in the 1990s, ended the night with just over 83.000 votes.
De Blasio, the one-time campaign manager for Hillary Clinton, has been representing Brooklyn’s 39th District in the City Council since January 2002.
Representing residents of Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Windsor Terrace, Kensington and Borough Park, de Blasio challenged Mayor Bloomberg on a number of issues.
The die was cast last year when de Blasio veered away from his City Council colleagues and voted against the term limits bill that would give city officials a third term in office.
De Blasio said that once he becomes the city’s top watchdog, he will work to streamline and strengthen city agencies that are designed to assist everyday residents with city agencies, as well as the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which was created to investigate police misconduct.
On September 15, de Blasio rose above a field of four for Public Advocate. But since de Blasio only secured 32 percent of the vote, not 40, a runoff was called.
In a change of pace, voting was a breeze at polling places across the borough with only one or two people showing up to cast their vote at a time.
Members of de Blasio’s campaign said that voting was extremely light during the day, but was expected to pick up after 5 p.m.
Yet even Board of Elections workers weren’t that optimistic.
“I don’t expect a big turnout because there are not that many people running,” Board of Elections inspector Sandor Weisberger told New York 1. “It’s only for two different offices.”
It’s believed that the low turnout helped de Blasio. With so few people caring to vote, voting blocs like the Working Families Party, which supported de Blasio, made all the difference, they said.
Others believed that Green’s negative campaign tactics hindered the former public advocate’s chances.
Since the runoff began, Green came out swinging, accusing de Blasio of campaign finance shenanigans and “abusing the budget process to milk campaign gifts from taxpayer expenditures.”
“I’d love to talk about positive issues, but he has to answer questions about his pattern of misconduct when it comes to money before the Council,” Green said in a recent debate between the two men.
“That’s Mark again, throwing a bomb for his own purposes,” de Blasio countered, adding that Green was out of touch with the needs of New Yorkers.
“I truly respect what Mark did in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s,” he said. “I’m trying to focus on what’s happening in this decade.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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