Bill de Blasio, currently New York City's public advocate, is well positioned to become the city's next mayor, but it could take some time before he's the official Democratic nominee.
That's because de Blasio is flirting with the 40 percent threshold it takes to avoid a one-on-one runoff against his closest opponent, Bill Thompson, the former city comptroller. De Blasio has 40.2 percent of the vote with 97 percent of the vote counted, according to unofficial tallies, and Thompson has 26 percent. A runoff would be scheduled for Oct. 1. Election officials said they would conduct a recount to determine the final results, which could take up to a week, according to The Associated Press.
On the Republican side, former Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO Joe Lhota bested billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis, 52 percent to 41 percent. Lhota also served as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's deputy mayor.
But the Democratic race marked a stinging defeat for former Congressman Anthony Weiner and early favorite City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Quinn suffered from voter fatigue as she was closely associated with current New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and some of his more unpopular policies, including the "stop and frisk" police policy and her support for the extension of term limits.
Weiner, who finished with just about 5 percent of the vote, once led polls. But the ex-congressman, who resigned after admitting he was sending illicit electronic messages to women who weren't his wife, fell sharply in the polls after it was revealed he continued to do so after resigning from Congress. His wife, Huma Abedin, an aide to Hillary Clinton, was not on hand for his concession speech. The fiery Weiner was also photographed flipping off journalists from his car as he left his election night event.
Another former New York politician seeking to redeem himself from a sex scandal also was defeated. Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who resigned after being caught using prostitutes while in office, narrowly lost his bid for New York City comptroller to Scott Stringer, currently serving as Manhattan borough president.
If de Blasio crosses the 40 percent mark or defeats Thompson in a runoff Oct. 1 as exit polls suggest he would, he will be the favorite to beat Lhota in the November election, thanks in large part to the large voting advantage Democrats have in New York City.