Brooklyn got mixed results from Tuesday’s Democratic runoff for public advocate and comptroller with voters sending Park Slope Councilman Bill DeBlasio to victory while handing Brooklyn Heights Councilman David Yassky a devastating loss that could put him out of elective politics forever.
In the public advocate race, DeBlasio beat former advocate Mark Green by a 62.537.5 margin to win the Democratic nomination.
In a victory speech, he said he would dedicate his office, whose budget was cut virtually in half to just $1.7 million, to ensuring “a vibrant democracy.”
Meanwhile, Yassky fell to his Council colleague John Liu by a 55.744. 3 margin for the comptroller nomination.
The Democratic nod is tantamount to victory, as both DeBlasio and Liu face lightly regarded and underfunded GOP competition in a mostly Democratic city. Alex Zablocki and Joe Mendola are the Republican nominees for public advocate and comptroller, respectively.
The loss in the comptroller race will likely send Yassky out of politics when he completes his second term at the end of December. Yassky was once a rising star in city politics, until he lost a congressional race in a majority black district in 2006.
That effort, plus his flip-flop on term limits last year, is believed to have cost Yassky with progressive voters, who chose Liu by a strong majority.
Yassky refused to speculate about his future in politics.
“For the rest of the year, I intend to focus on completing my service to the district,” he told The Brooklyn Paper on Wednesday. “In the short term, I’m going to get a few good night’s sleep. Then I’ll think about my future.”
When The Paper pressed Yassky about whether that future included another run at elective office, he resisted.
“Honestly, I just finished an intense effort,” he said. “I’m pretty tired out from that. I need to recharge.”
He said that the key to his loss to Liu, who had the backing of the city’s key labor unions, was low turnout.
“It’s very difficult to win a citywide election with only 225,000 voters,” Yassky said. “With all of organized labor on his side, our job was to increase turnout above the very anemic level that it proved to be. But we did not do that nearly enough.”
Turnout was indeed low in both races, with DeBlasio chalking up about 139,000 votes to Green’s 83,000, and Liu winning about 127,000 votes to Yassky’s 101,000, though final vote totals will take a few days to tabulate.
DeBlasio focused on four priorities: improving schools, spurring affordable housing, protecting “the vulnerable members of our society,” and fostering better relations between the NYPD and New York residents, he said.
Liu, the son of Chinese immigrants, thanked a crowd of supporters at United Federation of Teachers headquarters in Manhattan and said he would fight for better schools, transportation, and job creation.
©2009 Community News Group
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