New York • Bill de Blasio held a clear lead Tuesday night in New York City’s mayoral Democratic primary as polls closed, according to interviews with voters as they left balloting places. It was unclear, though, whether he would top the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff.
Exit polls showed Bill Thompson, a former city comptroller, and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn competing for the other spot in a possible runoff while former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s comeback campaign appears to have fallen short. The voter interviews were conducted by Edison Media Research for The Associated Press and other news organizations.
Actual voter returns were not yet available.
The exit polling showed the appeal of de Blasio, the city’s elected public advocate, to be broad-based: He was ahead in all five boroughs; was ahead of Thompson, the only African-American candidate, with black voters and ahead of Quinn, the lone woman in the race, with female voters. He also led Quinn, who is openly gay, among gay voters.
But if no candidate surpasses 40 percent of the vote, the top two finishers advance to an Oct. 1 runoff.
The winner of that contest would face the Republican nominee in the Nov. 5 general election. Joe Lhota, former deputy mayor to Rudolph Giuliani, was battling billionaire grocery magnate John Catsimatidis for the GOP nomination. Exit polling was not available in that race.
In the closely watched race for New York City comptroller, exit interviews show Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer running ahead of ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who was seeking a return to politics after resigning New York’s governor’s office in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal.
The winner of the mayor’s race in November will assume the helm of the nation’s largest city at a critical juncture, as it experiences shrinking crime rates yet widening income inequality.
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