NEW YORK — Bill de Blasio overwhelmingly was elected mayor Tuesday, becoming the first Democrat to lead New York in 20 years and ushering in an era of activist liberal governance in the nation’s largest city.
With 84 percent of precincts reporting results, de Blasio was trouncing Republican Joe Lhota, a protégé of former mayor Rudy Giuliani, by 73 percent to 24 percent early Wednesday.
De Blasio campaigned on a mantle of progressive change following Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s 12 years in office, highlighting what he saw as “a tale of two cities.” The moneyed Manhattan elite have had their mayor, he argued, and now the 46 percent of New Yorkers living at or near the poverty level need one of their own.
De Blasio’s administration will be a laboratory of sorts for modern progressivism — testing whether an anti-establishment activist can effectively manage a sprawling municipal government and lessen growing inequality between the rich and poor.
“Tackling inequality isn’t easy. It never has been, and it never will be,” de Blasio said in a victory speech at the YMCA gymnasium in his Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope. “The challenges we face have been decades in the making, and the problems we set out to address will not be solved overnight. But make no mistake: The people of this city have chosen a progressive path. And tonight we set forth on it — together, as one city.”
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