Bill de Blasio won a second term as New York City mayor after a boisterous campaign that ended as many had expected — in a landslide victory on Tuesday.
With over 98% of the vote counted, Democrat De Blasio won 66.15%, far outpacing his nearest challenger Republican New York State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis from Staten Island who got 27.68% of the vote.
Reform party candidate Sal Albanese took 2.09%, the Green party’s Akeem Browder got 1.44% while Independent Bo Dietl received 0.97%, and two other candidates got less than 1% each, according to unofficial election results from the New York City Board of Elections.
Late Tuesday night, the mayor spoke at his campaign event at the Brooklyn Museum. He is the first Democrat to win re-election as mayor since Ed Koch in 1985.
With his wife and son by his side, de Blasio said he intends to make New York City the fairest big city in America.
“We have so much to be proud of after these past four years, all of us, everyone made it happen together,” he said, “but we can’t stop now. Tonight there are too many of our fellow New Yorkers who feel the deck is stacked against them, too many who can’t see their potential…We’ve got to become a fairer city and we’ve got to do it soon, we’ve got to do it fast and we’ve got to put everything we’ve got into it.”
At her campaign headquarters William Vale Hotel in Brooklyn, Malliotakis thanked the crowd and said that from start she knew that winning was a long shot.
“I entered this race with my eyes wide open, knowing the odds were against me. But it wasn’t about me. It was about all of you,” she said, adding that “although we didn’t win, we were loud and clear in shouting that the status quo must end.”
Observers noted reasons for the mayor’s big win and offered advice for the next four years.
“I think the economy is doing pretty well. There has been a nice growth in the tech sector. Tourism is still up, especially international tourism, and hotel occupancy is up,” Howard Cure, director of municipal bond research, Evercore Wealth Management. “Good things are happening. There’s a lot of construction going on at Hudson Yards, the World Trade Center area and the rezoning around Grand Central Terminal.”
But Cure warned there could be storm clouds gathering on the horizon.
Curbs on immigration could affect the city’s economy, he said, citing the city’s high presence of foreign-born talent in the technology sector.
“Mayor de Blasio hasn’t had to deal with any substantial downturn in the economy yet. He’s been putting a lot of revenue away and we’ll see whether it’s enough,” he said.
The uncertainty of funding from the federal government was another area of concern going forward.
“The city should avoid the temptation to fight ideological battles on every single issue. Instead they should focus on how to work with the Feds to continue getting our fair share of tax revenue back,” said Anthony Figliola, vice-president of Empire Government Strategies in Uniondale, N.Y. “To fight them at every turn makes no sense and ultimately impacts those middle and lower income folks they claim they are seeking to protect.”
Cure agreed saying that “the concern is from the federal government … how to finance infrastructure, things like the Gateway project. That’s not a city project, but it has a large impact on the city’s economy.”
He added that there was much uncertainty about healthcare funding. “The city’s hospitals are a pretty large drain on the budget,” Cure said.
Figliola said the city must think outside the box to shore up its financial position for the future.
“The city must support local communities such as Long Island City and Coney Island, by authorizing hostel development in the outer boroughs,” he said. “This $320 billion global industry is eager to bring tens of millions in revenue to city coffers, tourism to local communities and jobs for local residents. It doesn’t compete with hotels and offers young millennials an alternative to illegal Airbnb rentals.”
Elsewhere in New York City, with 98.27% of the vote in, incumbent Comptroller Scott Stringer easily won a second term taking 76.70% of the vote over the 19.50% won by the GOP challenger Rev. Michel Faulkner.
The City Council races turned out a mixed bag of results.
In the First Council District, Democrat Margaret Chin was elected with 49.80% of the vote; in the Third District, Democrat Corey Johnson won with 93.76%; in the 10th District, Democrat Ydanis Rodriguez won with 79.09%; in the 26th District, Democrat James Van Bramer won with 76.07%; in the 27th District I. Daneek Miller won with 94.97%.
But in the 30th District, the race was too close to call with Republican Robert Holden with 50.25% to Democrat Elizabeth Crowley’s 49.59%.
In New York State, voters turned up their nose at the prospect of the state holding a constitutional convention.
Fueled by union members worried that the state would tamper with their pensions and other rights, the measure went down with 76.68% of no votes to 16.24% of yes votes, according to unofficial results from the New York State Board of Elections.
The proposal on public pension forfeiture reform passed 64.08% to 27.08% while the amendment on a forest preserve land bank was too close to call.
There were no statewide municipal bond referendums on Tuesday’s ballot.
Paul Burton contributed to this report.