NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio thanked voters Wednesday after winning a second term and outlined his priorities for the next four years.
The mayor said his main focus will be on expanding pre-kindergarten to 3-year-olds, along with increasing investments in affordable housing, putting body cameras on patrol officers citywide and tackling electoral reform.READ MORE: New Jersey Officials Monitoring Omicron Variant, But Say Delta Is Still A Concern As Travel Picks Up
“There’s a lot to do, but I want to say I’m once again optimistic,” de Blasio said.
He called his win “the beginning of a new era in this city” and said he is “honored to be at the beginning of that era.”
De Blasio is the first Democrat to win re-election as New York City mayor since Ed Koch 32 years ago.
The mayor also said the political climate in Washington played a role in the race and called himself a “leading anti-Trump voice.” He said people are waking up, they want change, and they’re getting more involved to reclaim their democracy.
“Something very big is happening, trust me,” he said.
Asked whether his political aspirations extend beyond City Hall, de Blasio said his focus has been on four more years for New Yorkers.
Though only slight more than one in five voters showed up Tuesday, de Blasio said the people of New York City delivered a mandate loud and clear.
“It’s a mandate for fairness,” he said. “To make this the fairest big city in America.”
When a reporter pointed to the low voter turnout, the mayor cut off the questioner.
“I have to stop you. Guys, an election is an election. People decide they want to participate or not,” he said. “Again, the state has broken electoral laws. That is a generic, painful, wrong reality. It has to be fixed, but it does not negate the million plus people who came out to vote, and they gave a very clear mandate.”
With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, de Blasio had 66 percent of the vote, compared with 28 percent for his Republican challenger, state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.READ MORE: NYC 'Strongly Recommends' Masks In Public Indoor Spaces, As Omicron Variant Reaches North America
The mayor took his victory lap in his home borough Wednesday morning, greeting voters as they came up the subway steps, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
“I could see the energy on his face, I could see he has a renewed spirit about his commitment to this city,” Bronx resident Donna Halloway said.
The mayor shook hands and posed for selfies, promising several commuters that improving transportation is among his top priorities.
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Speaking to supporters at an election night party at the Brooklyn Museum, de Blasio pledged to make New York the “fairest city in America.”
“We proved we could make our cities safer, we proved we could make our schools better, we proved we could make our economy stronger,” de Blasio said. “We did this together and we took on some very powerful forces while we did it.”
The 56-year-old mayor has also said there’s going to be a fight against the Republicans’ tax reform plan and attempts to repeal Obamacare, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
Meanwhile, Malliotakis conceded the race early.
“We may not have won the race, but we have made our voices heard,” Malliotakis told her supporters. “If we continue to fight for what we believe in, we can change the course of this city.”
Third-party candidates in the race included independent Bo Dietl, a former detective. He said he will never seek office again.
“Whatever happens, I love this city and I’m staying in this city and I’ll protect this city whether I’m the mayor or not the mayor,” he said.
Coming in last in the polls was Libertarian Party candidate Aaron Commey, who captured less than 1 percent of the vote.MORE NEWS: Harlem's Josephine Baker About To Be Given France's Highest Honor, A Resting Place In The Pantheon
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)