Election Day in New York City - KMSP-TV

Election Day in New York City

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Bill de Blasio (left) and Joe Lhota (campaign photos) Bill de Blasio (left) and Joe Lhota (campaign photos)
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MYFOXNY.COM/AP -

New Yorkers went to the polls Tuesday to elect their first new mayor in 12 years.

Election Day is the beginning of the city's farewell to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who helped define the city since 2001.

Voters chose between Republican Joe Lhota and Democrat Bill de Blasio. Polls opened at 6 a.m. and closed at 9 p.m.

De Blasio voted Tuesday morning at a public library branch in Brooklyn. The candidate said the election offers "a stark contrast" between himself and Republican Lhota. He said he is calling for "fundamental progressive change" in the city.

De Blasio said his daughter, Chiara, surprised him by flying home from college to vote with her parents. His high-school-age son, Dante, is too young to vote.

Lhota was accompanied by with wife, Tamra, as he cast his vote at a polling place in Brooklyn. He said he voted by paper ballot, which he said is probably faster than voting by machine.

The former head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority posed for photographs with voters and his wife.

Lhota said he was looking forward to the results Tuesday night.

On Monday, the final blitz before Election Day was a fitting coda for the yearlong campaign to select Mayor Michael Bloomberg's successor, a marathon marked by debates about hot-button issues, outsized personalities and staggering political implosions.

But for all the surreal spectacles the campaign has generated, there is little evidence of an 11th-hour surprise. Since winning his party's primary, de Blasio has led every general election poll by nearly 40 points. Democrats outnumber Republicans 6-to-1 in the city.

De Blasio's tour Monday felt at times like a victory lap as he moved from Brooklyn to the Bronx to Queens, pledging to remember New Yorkers who felt left behind by what they perceived as Manhattan-centric policies during Bloomberg's three terms as mayor.

"Together we will make this a city for everyone again," said de Blasio to a crowd gathered at a Bronx senior center. "The way that Mayor Bloomberg did things is not the only way to do things, I assure you."

Even when he was running fourth in Democratic primary polls over the summer, de Blasio offered himself as the cleanest break from the city's dozen years under the leadership of Bloomberg, the billionaire who guided New York through the aftermath of 9/11 and the meltdown on Wall Street.

Accusing Bloomberg of favoring real estate developers and the finance world, de Blasio offered his own progressive platform that included improved police-community relations and a tax hike on the wealthy to pay for universal pre-kindergarten.

He moved up in the polls thanks in part to the implosions of the candidacies of two former front-runners, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and ex-U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner. Now, with City Hall appearing to be within his grasp, de Blasio noted that a rout could give him a mandate powerful enough to push through his agenda, including the tax hike, which would need support in Albany.

"The more support you get in the election, the more ability you have to achieve your goals," de Blasio said. "If we get a strong result, it will help us get our work done."

Lhota, meanwhile, seemed to revel in his underdog status. As he walked through Harlem, a heavily African-American neighborhood expected to go decisively for de Blasio, he continued to hammer what he believes is his rival's thin executive resume while mixing in a few dance moves set to the music blaring from a passing car.

"Momentum is in my favor, at this time," said Lhota, the former head of the city's transit agency. "I'm very, very comfortable with where I am, and I'm very optimistic."

Lhota has largely pledged to continue the policies, particularly on public safety, of Bloomberg and his former boss. Giuliani, a divisive figure in the city he once led, has been noticeably absent on the general election campaign trail.

He did appear with Lhota on Friday in GOP-heavy Staten Island and then greeted commuters with the Republican nominee at a pair of Manhattan ferry terminals late Monday.

He extolled Lhota's tireless work during the aftermath of the terror attacks 12 years ago. Lhota believes he contracted cancer, which is now in remission, from his time at the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center.

"I'm very proud of Mr. Lhota," Giuliani said. "The city has a chance to elect a man who was been through the worst that has ever happened to this city and was able to stand up as a hero."

Associated Press writer Jennifer Peltz contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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