Welcome to PolicyMic's coverage of the New York City mayoral election!
It may be an off-year for elections in most of the country, but here in the nation's largest city voters have gotten to witness the sort of wacky, unpredictable campaign that only comes from a wide-open field of candidates and no clear front-runner. On Tuesday, the Democratic and Republican primaries will be held, and on Election Day in November, NYC will cast its final vote for mayor.
The Democratic primary has gotten the most attention, partially because NYC is such a heavily Democratic town, and partially because (let's be honest) Anthony Weiner is one of the candidates running. If one candidate breaks 40% of the vote Tuesday night, that candidate will immediately become the Democratic nominee. If not, the top two vote-getters will proceed to a runoff election, to be held on Tuesday, October 1. Here's what you need to know:
-Christine Quinn, the speaker of the City Council, is running to be the city's first female and openly gay mayor. She is widely seen as the most moderate candidate in the Democratic field and has been a close ally of Mayor Michael Bloomberg for many years. Until very recently, she was considered the prohibitive favorite. She has since dropped to second or third, depending on which polls you're looking at.
-Bill de Blasio, the city's public advocate, has positioned himself as the most liberal candidate, and is the one who has promised the most definitive break with the Bloomberg legacy. He has focused relentlessly on economic inequality as the theme of his campaign — something the current mayor has openly admitted he doesn't care about — and has prominently featured his multiracial family throughout his run. Oh, and he's leading in just about every poll.
-Bill Thompson, the city's former comptroller, is a veteran of NYC politics. He is the only African-American in the race and came surprisingly close to beating Michael Bloomberg in 2009, when Bloomberg went for his controversial third term. He essentially represents the middle ground between Quinn's establishment-oriented base and de Blasio's liberal insurgency. Sure, he's a bit boring — but after 20 years of Giuliani and Bloomberg, maybe that's not such a bad thing. He's currently second or third in the polls.
-Anthony Weiner. Yep. Weiner is now polling in the single digits, so we'll be rid of him soon. In the meantime, have a look at this video from last week. Whatta town.
You may not have known that New York City also has Republicans. They can often be seen in their natural habitat of the Upper East Side or Staten Island (not to be confused with the Shaolin). This year's GOP primary is essentially a two-man race:
-Joe Lhota, a veteran of the Giuliani administration, is the clear GOP front-runner. His most recent job was running the Metropolitan Transit Authority during Hurricane Sandy — where he received widespread praise for his performance — and he's the kind of socially liberal, fiscally conservative Republican who could plausibly win in New York City. He called the Port Authority police "mall cops," which was awesome.
-John Catsimatidis, or "Cats," is the owner of the NYC grocery-store chain Gristedes, and his chances of winning the GOP primary are about as good as your chances of buying decent produce at one of his supermarkets. Still, between his entertaining campaign antics and the fact that he wrote a poem about the subway kitties, it's been fun having him around.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday. If you are a New York City resident and want to know where to vote, visit this website.