Surprise top finisher in NYC primary for mayor

NEW YORK (AP) New York City saw a surprise top finisher in the Democratic primary election for mayor, but it could take weeks and another vote before residents know who will replace billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Bill de Blasio emerged late in the campaign with his promise to fight economic inequality and a popular ad showing off his interracial family. His 15-year-old Afro-sporting son, Dante, became so popular that the campaign embraced the Twitter hash tag #fromentum.

It was not clear Wednesday whether a second Democratic vote would be needed in the race to run America's largest city. The Board of Elections said that with all precincts reporting, de Blasio had 40.13 percent of the vote, which put him just above the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid triggering an automatic Oct. 1 runoff.

Otherwise, de Blasio will face Bill Thompson, who has 26 percent, with the winner advancing to face Republican nominee Joe Lhota, the former chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, in the general election on Nov. 5.

The colorful campaign featured former U.S. congressman Anthony Weiner's latest sexting scandal and the fading away of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the early front-runner who was seeking to become the city's first woman and openly gay mayor.

The campaigns paused Wednesday as the city observed the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Later this week, election officials will recount all the ballots cast.

Bloomberg has led New York for 12 years. During that time, crime fell but income inequality rose.

De Blasio campaigned with a "tale of two cities" theme meant to appeal to the middle and lower class.

Weiner had been leading in the polls until a gossip website revealed that he used the online handle Carlos Danger to continue to send X-rated messages to women, even after he resigned from Congress in 2011 for similar behavior.

Another scandal-scarred politician, Eliot Spitzer, who resigned as New York's governor in 2008 after paying for sex with prostitutes, tried to run a self-financed campaign for the lesser office of city comptroller. But he lost to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, 52 percent to 48 percent.

While the city's registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 6 to 1, the Republican Party's recent success in mayoral elections has been largely attributed to a crime epidemic, the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks or other extraordinary circumstances.

De Blasio, 52, has fashioned himself as the cleanest break from the Bloomberg years. He worked in Bill Clinton's White House and Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate campaign before being elected to the city council and then public advocate.

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Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire contributed.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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