Saying issues like crime, education and affordable housing drove them to the polls Tuesday, Queens residents helped to re-elect Helen Marshall as borough president and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the city’s highest office by a narrow, while sending John Liu (D-Flushing) to the comptroller’s office as the first Asian American to win a citywide office.
Councilman Bill de Blasio (D-Brooklyn) was elected public advocate on a bright fall day that drew what appeared to be an average number of voters to the polls. for a non-presidential election year.
Marshall, a Democrat, easily defeated Republican candidate Robert Hornak and Conservative Robert Schwartz, garnering 166,439 votes, or 75.63 percent of the vote, with 99.75 percent of the precincts reporting, according to unofficial results from NY1. Hornak received 44,641 votes, while Schwartz landed 8,982 votes.
Marshall has been borough president of Queens since 2001, prior to which she served as a city councilwoman and state assemblywoman in Queens for nearly two decades.
She led a relatively quiet campaign this summer, but said if re-elected she would push hard to increase the number of hospital beds in Queens and continue her support of bolstering minority- and women-owned businesses in Queens.
Bloomberg in his third bid for the city’s highest office beat Democrat Bill Thompson, but with a much thinner margin than expected. Bloomberg won 555,254 votes, or 50.6 percent, while Thompson, the city comptroller, received 505,452 votes, or 46.06 percent, with 99.89 percent of precincts reporting.
“The voters have spoken and now it’s up to us to deliver,” Bloomberg said during his victory speech Tuesday night. “Can we do it? I know we can, and I know we will.”
Thompson and Bloomberg said they planned to work with one another following the campaign.
“We’ve had our differences, but we’ve always found a common ground in our deep desire to serve this city,” Thompson said. “I pledge to do whatever I can to put the differences of the campaign behind us.”
Some residents at Queens polling stations expressed confidence in Bloomberg’s background as a successful businessman who has ruled the city as students’ test scores have risen and crime has dropped, while others criticized the billionaire independent’s bid to extend term limits and run for a third term.
“I’ve always voted for Bloomberg,” said Lina Hsu, 77, of Forest Hills. “Right now, the whole city is in crisis and you better let him go after it.”
Rose-Ann Georgilis of Woodside too praised Bloomberg’s record on crime and education.
“I don’t like that housing seems to be more expensive under Bloomberg, but it’s more important to me to feel safe and like my kids are doing well in school,” Georgilis said.
Many residents in southeast Queens threw their support behind Thompson and said they disapproved of Bloomberg’s drive to extend term limits.
“I think Bloomberg is a good person, but even if you’re good, you can’t disrespect the people,” said Laurelton resident Roy White.
Bloomberg, who spent a record-breaking estimated $90 million on his campaign, said he hopes to further funnel his efforts to reducing crime, reforming education and making affordable housing more available.
Liu swept to a landmark victory, drawing 695,335ballots, or 75.97 percent of the vote, with 99.89 percent of precincts counted. Liu, the first Asian American to hold citywide office, easily trounced his Republican opponent, Joseph Mendola, who received 176,681 votes, or 19.3 percent.
“Indeed this is an historic night for New York City and a milestone for Asian Americans across the nation,” Liu said Tuesday night. “I’m truly humbled to have this place in history, and I stand here extremely optimistic about the opportunity to bring change to New York City and about the economic outlook of our future.”
DeBlasio defeated Staten Island Republican Alex Zablocki, receiving 671,412 votes, or 76.85 percent of the vote, with 99.89 percent of the precincts counted. Zablocki landed 156,715 votes, or 17.94 percent.
Ivan Pereira and Jeremy Walsh contributed reporting to this article.
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson
©2009 Community News Group
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