New Yorkers Choose Between Two Post-Bloomberg Visions
NEW YORK -- NEW YORK - The casting of ballots Tuesday signals the beginning of New York City’s farewell to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has helped shape the nation’s biggest city for 12 years, largely setting aside partisan politics as he led with data-driven beliefs and his vast fortune.
Republican Joe Lhota, a onetime deputy mayor to Rudolph Giuliani, has vowed that he will largely continue Bloomberg’s policies, which have helped make New York one of the nation’s safest and most prosperous big cities, though they also may have contributed to the city’s widening income equality gap.
But while polls show that New Yorkers largely approve of Bloomberg’s record, those same surveys show a hunger for a change in style and tone, which is why Bill de Blasio is poised to become the first Democrat elected mayor in more than a generation.
De Blasio, who as the city’s elected public advocate acts as an official watchdog, has positioned himself as a clean break with the Bloomberg years, promoting a sweeping liberal agenda that includes a tax increase on the wealthy to pay for universal pre-kindergarten and improved police-community relations.
Those tactics, and a pledge to reach out to New Yorkers who feel left behind by what they believed were Bloomberg’s Manhattan-centric policies, have been rewarded in the polls. De Blasio, 52, has been up nearly 40 percentage points in every survey conducted since the general election matchup was set nearly two months ago.
To his supporters, de Blasio symbolizes the city’s progressive possibilities He hails from Brooklyn, is married to an African-American woman and is father to two interracial teenagers, one of whom sports an Afro that became a sensation on the campaign trail. But he is also a consummate pragmatist, having worked for both Bill and Hillary Clinton and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was known for closed-door wheeling-and-dealing while serving in the City Council.