New York City's wild mayoral primary campaign hurtled to the voting booth on Sept. 10 as New Yorkers began the process of replacing the man who has led their city for 12 years.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg never offered an endorsement in the race, but the primary campaigns largely were defined by his legacy. The Republican mayoral hopefuls were largely promising to maintain his policies, while the Democrats offered a sharply different approach.
Public advocate Bill de Blasio, pitched himself as the cleanest break with the current administration. And while just weeks ago his campaign was an afterthought, he surged to 40 percent – or close to it – in the Democratic primary held on Tuesday.
Early Sept. 11, it appeared he may still face a runoff on Oct. 1. With about 98 percent of the precincts counted early Sept. 11, de Blasio had 40.2 percent of the vote. If he says above 40 percent, he wins the nomination. If he falls below, he faces a runoff with former city Comptroller Bill Thompson, who was running second with 26 percent.
De Blasio's rise was as sudden as it was unexpected. He benefited from placing his interracial family at the heart of his campaign, connecting with voters over the need for NYPD reforms, and by drawing away voters from Anthony Weiner supporters following the former congressman's latest sexting scandal.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who was bidding to become the city's first female and first openly gay mayor, was in third with about 16 percent of the vote. She had led the polls for most of the year but saw support disappear as her rivals have repeatedly linked her to the bitter debate to let Bloomberg run for a third term in 2009.
The mayor's opponent that year was Thompson, who stunned the political world by nearly upsetting the billionaire incumbent. The race's lone African-American, Thompson had said he is counting on winning the bulk of black and Latino voters to propel him to the runoff.
In a message to supporters of Quinn's campaign through the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, president and CEO Chuck Wolfe said on Sept. 10, "There’s no sugar-coating what an emotional loss this is for her, her many supporters and all of us here at the Victory Fund. I’ve known Chris for a long time. She has been a remarkably effective and passionate advocate for LGBT equality and, most importantly, for everyone who calls New York City home. Few people are as committed to anything as Chris is to New York, but I can tell you that all of us at Victory were behind this campaign with all our hearts. We are grateful that you stood with us. "
Comptroller John Liu was bidding to become the city's first Asian-American mayor but has been dogged by a fundraising scandal. He came in at about 7 percent, just ahead of Weiner.
Republicans will look to continue an improbable winning streak in the general election. Though outnumbered by Democrats in the city 6-to-1, the GOP has won the last five mayoral elections. (Bloomberg was an independent running on the Republican line four years ago.)
Joe Lhota, the former MTA chairman who received acclaim for steering the transit agency through Superstorm Sandy last fall, led the polls all campaign and finished first.