After a runoff election with very low turnout, City Councilwoman Letitia James beat State Sen. Daniel Squadron to become the Democratic candidate for public advocate. With no Republican candidate, that means she’s basically guaranteed to win the general election and become the first black woman to hold citywide office. WNYC’s election tracker showed James winning by 59.4 percent with 100 precincts reporting. It’s a solid victory, but it still represents an astonishingly small number of votes. “Turnout at the polls was exceedingly low, with about 187,000 of the party’s nearly 3 million voters having cast a ballot,” according to The Wall Street Journal. So not in the dozens, as we had feared, but still about 6.2 percent.
The low turnout did not affect the boisterous mood at James’s rooftop victory party at the Copacabana, from which Politicker’s Jill Colvin filed a report. “Today, you elected me the first … the first woman of color to win citywide office!” said James, who was interrupted by cheers. “I am so proud of what we accomplished together, and yes, I’m proud that we made history today.”
She has promised to be “a thorn to bureaucracy and those who represent the elite throughout the City of New York,” the Times notes, and at her victory party she reiterated that pledge to advocate for public education, the working poor, and better police policy. But without a new mayor in place yet, James took one more swipe at Michael Bloomberg: “And no Mayor Bloomberg, we don’t need any more billionaires.”