As primary election kicks off, candidates cast their ballots
With the election polls open as of 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, the much anticipated, crowded primary election was off to a dimly lit start.
A little over an hour later, Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio walked over to the Park Slope Library to cast his vote with his wife Chirlane McCray.
“[I] feel great,” de Blasio said. “Looking forward to voting.”
De Blasio was asked again about recents comments made by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a New York Magazine article, in which Bloomberg accused de Blasio of running a campaign that is “racist” and encourages “class warfare.”
“I really want to thank Governor [Andrew] Cuomo for stepping up and saying… those comments were inappropriate,” de Blasio said.
He added that Cuomo is a family friend and that he and his family “appreciate Governor Cuomo’s vote of confidence.”
Cuomo has not made an endorsement in the mayoral race.
A couple of hours later, Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota set out to vote in Brooklyn Heights accompanied by his wife and daughter.
Lhota has generally not brought his family out on the campaign trail, but his wife Tamra was visibly excited after having cast her vote.
Even the trouble her husband ran into with the lever machines, forcing him to use an emergency paper ballot, did not dampen her enthusiasm.
“It’s just an incredibly experience to be able to vote for someone who you know you love and who’s so accomplished and just so ready to go on day one as mayor,” Tamra Lhota enthused.
Over in Chelsea about an hour later, Christine Quinn strolled over to P.S. 33 with her wife, Kim Catullo. Catullo, once known for being media-shy, smiled and engaged reporters as the pair head up to the school hand-in-hand.
After casting her vote, a grinning, almost giddy Quinn was asked how it felt to see her name in the mayoral section on the ballot for the first time, after years in the City Council.
“It’s a very different feeling,” she said. “You know, my eyes almost went over to the City Council part of the ballot first.”
“It was very different, but really, really thrilling,” she added.
Elsewhere in the city, comptroller candidate Scott Stringer and mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner both toted their sons into the voting booth with them.
Stringer’s wife and infant son Miles were on hand as well. Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, reportedly did not accompany her husband.
Bill Thompson wrapped up a 24-hour tour of the city by voting with his wife Elsie up in Harlem.
And Eliot Spitzer, running against Stringer for city comptroller, was seen heading over to the polls solo, no family in sight.
Though recent polls have had him pulling in over 40 percent, which would kill the long-expected runoff, de Blasio said his team is “prepared for one and feel very confident.”
“We’ve been planning all along for it,” the Public Advocate said. “Our team is energized and ready.”
Quinn also expressed confidence in a potential runoff.
“I always knew this was going to be a fight to the end,” Quinn said. “Three weeks from now we’ll be back here again and I’ll win the runoff!”
Quinn noted that the poll site she had just voted at, P.S. 33, “like every other school in the city of New York now has mandatory kindergarten because of a law I got passed.”
She touted her mayoral education plan, which she said will use “city resources” to secure full-day mandatory pre-K for every 4-year-old in the city “in the first school year after I’m mayor.”
Quinn added that her plan is not “reliant on someone else to do something for us,” a criticism that has been leveled against de Blasio’s tax-hike funded $500,000 education plan. Lhota has also called out de Blasio’s plan, pointing out that $500,000 is less than 1 percent of the city’s budget and insisting that it must be possible to get that amount by using current city funds more efficiently.
Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat