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Citizens Union

Gotham Votes 2013

Bill de Blasio Is First Democrat Elected Mayor In 20 Years


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NEW YORK — Bill de Blasio, a seasoned political operative from Brooklyn, proclaimed that the city had chosen a “progressive path” as he became the first Democrat to be elected mayor in more than 20 years on Tuesday.

Riding a campaign that tapped into widespread discontent with the direction of the city under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, de Blasio trounced his main rival for the job, Republican Joe Lhota. It was, in many ways, a stunning victory for a candidate who only months earlier was best known, if at all, as the city’s public advocate, a relatively powerless position that serves as a gadfly to the mayor.

Read more: Bill de Blasio Is First Democrat Elected Mayor In 20 Years

Cuomo Wins Big With Casino Ballot Measure


Gov. Andrew Cuomo scored a huge victory at the polls on Tuesday — and his name wasn’t even on the ballot.

Cuomo may not have had his name on the ballot but a measure to allow casino gambling in the state, which was approved by voters with a margin of about 57 to 43, was largely the governor’s making. After all, he spent two years shepherding the bill through the state Legislature while his administration helped write the glowing language that voters read before filling in the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ boxes on Election Day.

Read more: Cuomo Wins Big With Casino Ballot Measure

Voters Squint As They Choose New Mayor


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The polls might have predicted a winner long ago, but both of the two leading mayoral candidates were smiling as they headed into their voting booths on Election Day.

Like on the day of the primary, Democrat Bill de Blasio again cast his vote at the Park Slope public library with his wife Chirlane. Unlike last time, however, they were joined by son Dante and daughter Chiara. The family showed up later than the campaign planned but with good reason.

Chiara, who is going to college in California, surprised them at the family’s front door after telling her candidate father that she couldn’t join the family on election night.

“It turned out it was all a clever ruse from my family,” said the outgoing public advocate. He added that he “was not sleeping in,” in reference to recent stories that he was over an hour late to a campaign event because he had overslept. “Sorry, Joe Lhota,” de Blasio said.

Read more: Voters Squint As They Choose New Mayor

In Round 3, Neither Mayoral Candidate Lands a Knockout


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In the final mayoral debate between the two leading candidates, Joe Lhota likened himself to Rocky Balboa and rival Bill de Blasio to Soviet boxer Ivan Drago.

But instead of the climactic knockdown fight of 1985’s Rocky III, last night’s match between the Republican and Democratic candidates was more like Waiting for Godot.

Rehashing much of the past seven weeks of back and forth between the two candidates, Lhota and de Blasio ran through the motions of where they stand on many of the same issues they had previously sparred over: union contract negotiations, resiliency post-Superstorm Sandy, stop-and-frisk, charter schools and more.

Read more: In Round 3, Neither Mayoral Candidate Lands a Knockout

Court Ruling Clears Way For Unlimited PAC Spending For Lhota


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A PAC supporting Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota can now receive donations that exceed the $150,000 limit under state law.

A three-judge panel today overturned a lower court’s decision preventing the New York Progress and Protection PAC from receiving contributions that exceed the state’s maximum. As a result, the political action committee can now make unlimited independent expenditures in the mayoral race. By law, PACs can’t coordinate with candidates.

Read more: Court Ruling Clears Way For Unlimited PAC Spending For Lhota

Lhota and De Blasio Attack Each Other in 2nd Debate


In a blistering second debate last night, Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota attacked each other on public safety, taxes and the legacies of the mayors they once served.

“When you go to vote on Nov. 5,” asked Republican and former subways chief Lhota in his closing statement, “do you want your vote to be safe or sorry?”

Democrat De Blasio, the outgoing public advocate, finessed his parting thoughts differently.

“We need a safe city and we need a fair city,” de Blasio said.

Read more: Lhota and De Blasio Attack Each Other in 2nd Debate

It Ain’t Easy Being Green


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ALBANY, N.Y. — In a country nearly 8,000 miles away from the United States, being a member of the Green Party carries no stigma, no automatic dismissal by the press or pollsters, no brushoff from other parties.

Instead, what set Lynne Serpe apart in New Zealand, where she worked as a national voting reform coordinator, was her American accent. It made her so recognizable she didn’t have to introduce herself on the phone. But it wasn’t just the novelty of being an American that made her an important player in politics.

Serpe said that New Zealand regularly has five political parties at the negotiating table — including the one she belongs to: the Green Party. “And they get things done,” said Serpe, who helped set up instant runoff voting in the island nation and did advocacy for Green Party legislators.

Serpe hopes her work on community initiatives — not her accent — will help her stand out to voters in Queens’ 22nd City Council District as she campaigns as the Green Party candidate to replace Peter Vallone. Serpe is involved in a number of grassroots initiatives, food scrap recycling programs, works as a consultant to the Queens Library and already ran for the seat in 2009, garnering nearly 34 percent of the vote.

Read more: It Ain’t Easy Being Green

Campaign Trail: Weekend Update


Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota has a lot of ground to cover before the general election in two weeks, and some GOP observers aren’t confident that the former MTA chief’s campaign has the political wherewithal to pull it off. [NYDN]

Lhota disagreed, adding that “comments from the cheap seats mean nothing.” [NYDN]

Meanwhile, Lhota also tweeted to another Daily News report that his Democratic rival Bill de Blasio had a front row seat to the Crown Heights riots in 1991, when de Blasio was an aide in Mayor David Dinkins’ administration. [NYDN]

“It doesn't appear from the Daily News piece that de Blasio played any major part in the city's response to the riots,” wrote the Village Voice. [Village Voice]

Political consultant and former Koch advisor Luis Miranda told WNYC that Indepdendece Party candidate Adolfo Carrion’s dragging campaign for mayor belies his former political promise: “ I just thinking leaving the Democratic party killed his chances of being in elected office.” [WNYC]

De Blasio Tries To Link Lhota To Nat'l GOP In Mayoral Debate


In their first televised mayoral debate, Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio tried to link rival Republican Joe Lhota to the national GOP brand that has been attacked for its role in the federal government shutdown.

Throughout the hour-long debate at WABC-TV studios on the Upper West Side on Tuesday night, de Blasio put Lhota on the defensive about the rival candidate’s ties to the national Republican Party. Lhota tried to beat back.

Read more: De Blasio Tries To Link Lhota To Nat'l GOP In Mayoral Debate



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