UPDATE: Tuesday, Sept. 17
Former Comptroller William Thompson’s withdrawal from the mayoral race yesterday morning means public advocate and NYU alumnus Bill de Blasio will be the Democratic candidate for the general election on Nov. 5.
Immediately after his announcement, Thompson endorsed de Blasio.
“We share the fundamental same views and values,” Thompson said in a press conference aired by CBSLocal. “This is bigger than either one of us.”
In the event a majority candidate receives less than 40 percent of the vote in a primary election, a runoff election is held. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, de Blasio earned 40.3 percent of the votes while Thompson earned 26.2 percent of the votes.
Following the primary election on Sept. 10, the New York City Board of Elections decided to recanvass the votes. While the machine recanvass is complete, the paper recanvass of absentee ballots and affidavits began Monday and is ongoing. The recanvass will continue, as Thompson would have had to withdraw by 11:59 p.m. on the night of Sept. 13 for the recanvassing to end before its completion.
“[Thompson’s withdrawal] means nothing in the sense of New York state election law,” Board of Election spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez said. “The process for us remains the same.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was also present at the press conference and endorsed de Blasio.
“What Bill Thompson is saying today is he going to put aside his own personal ambition, his own personal hopes, his own personal ideas in honor and in respect of that shared vision,” Cuomo said in the press conference posted on NY1’s website.
After a tight Democratic primary election Tuesday night, the Board of Elections will hold a recount starting on Monday, Sept. 16. The board’s media contact Valerie Vazquez said the recount will include affidavits and absentee ballots.
The recount will determine whether a runoff is necessary between public advocate Bill de Blasio and former comptroller William Thompson. To avoid a runoff, a candidate needs 40 percent of the vote.
At press time, de Blasio held 40.2 percent of the votes and Thompson held 26 percent of the votes. Even though de Blasio reached the required percentage, his poll numbers oscillated within a narrow margin for the majority of the night. Two percent of the precincts still need to report, and absentee ballots and affidavits need to be counted.
According to a New York Times exit poll, Democratic primary voters preferred de Blasio to Thompson by nearly 20 points.
Stern sophomore Samir Goel, a long-time de Blasio supporter, does not want a Democratic runoff because it would distract the candidate from campaigning against the republican candidate.
“He handled Hurricane Sandy very well, I thought, and I agree with his policies compared with the other democratic candidates,” Goel said. “I’d love to see him not have to fight off another Democrat over the next three weeks.”
Steinhardt sophomore Kyle Tieman-Strauss said he was amazed by the margin between de Blasio and Quinn, when a few months ago Quinn held a solid lead.
“I think the voters of New York are looking for a new direction for this city, even though many think favorably of Mayor Michael Bloomberg,” Tieman-Strauss said.
Former Democratic front-runner and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn finished third in the primary with 15.5 percent of the votes. The New York Times exit poll also reported that almost half of former Quinn supporters would cast their vote for de Blasio in a runoff, compared to three in 10 in favor of Thompson.
GLS sophomore Lola Harney said she voted for Quinn, but she will continue to support the Democratic party candidate in the general election.
“I was a big supporter of Bloomberg and a lot of [Quinn’s] stances are very similar to Bloomberg’s,” Harney said.
Professor of politics Christine Harrington connected Quinn’s third-place finish in the polls with the speaker’s close association to the current administration.
“The dissatisfaction with Bloomberg is something that turned around on her,” Harrington said.
Former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Joseph Lhota won the Republican primary with 52 percent of the vote, beating Gristedes owner John Catsimatidis, who held 40.6 percent of the votes, at 97 percent reporting.
Gallatin sophomore Mishka Stueber voted for Lhota with her because of her future goals.
“I wanted to choose a candidate who would benefit me careerwise, and as a civil engineer contemplating a focus in traffic engineering, it only makes sense that I would vote for the former chairman of the MTA,” Stueber said.
Independent Adolfo Carrión Jr. will run in the General Election after running unopposed in the primaries.
Stern senior Joanna Kamien said this is the first election that will have a personal effect on her.
“I’d like to see our generation of early 20-something college grads be able to get jobs and continue to live in this city,” Kamien said.
Professor of politics and public policy Patrick Egan said that something unfamiliar happened in the Democratic primary.
“What is interesting about the Democratic primaries is that we really see a weakening of identity politics here in New York City,” Egan said, citing exit polls that said gay voters supported straight candidates over Quinn and black voters were just as likely to vote for white candidates as they were for Thompson.
Egan also said in the General Election in November, Bloomberg will become a more important topic among the candidates.
“New York has yet to have a real debate about the extent to which the Bloomberg policies should be continued and extended, or should be changed,” Egan said.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Sept. 11 print edition. Email the news team at [email protected]