In other words, in a city of over 8 million people, the person next in line to become mayor was elected by just under 134,000 votes.
Which, of course, isn’t Jumaane Williams’ fault. The Brooklyn councilman will take over for Letitia James, who is now serving as attorney general of the State of New York.
Even if there was low voter turnout, Williams still had to differentiate himself on a ballot that included 16 other candidates.
He likely benefitted from an increased profile after a spirited campaign against Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul last fall. Few gave Williams much of a chance in that race, but he lost by less than 100,000 votes, and actually bested Hochul among New York City voters.
Coming in second was Councilman Eric Ulrich of Queens, one of the few Republican candidates on the ballot. Although since it was a nonpartisan election, candidates weren’t allowed to run on established party lines.
Ulrich received just a hair over 77,000 votes, actually winning the boroughs of Queens and Staten Island. Given the way that Ulrich and other members of the Republican Party acted on election night, you might have thought they won.
But in a city where Democrats far outnumber Republicans, second place is as good as a win these days.
Ulrich definitely benefitted from the crowded field, and with his name recognition he was the go-to candidate for conservative voters.
Williams will have to defend his victory in June in a primary election, and it’s unclear just yet if any Democrats will challenge him. And then there will be another election in November that Ulrich could run in, but early indications are that he will not choose to do so.
It’s unlikely that he would be able to defeat Williams in a head-to-head competition, but did his strong showing in Queens perhaps embolden him to run for borough president when that office opens up? Ulrich could be a strong contender against a Democratic candidate.
And because we here at Pol Position like nothing more than to be exhaustive in our coverage of local politics, here is how every candidate fared in the special election:
• Jumanne Williams (33.3%)
• Eric Ulrich (19.2%)
• Melissa Mark-Viverito (11%)
• Michael Blake (8.3%)
• Ydanis Rodriguez (6%)
• Dawn Smalls (4.1%)
• Rafael Espinal (3.2%)
• Daniel O’Donnell (2.9%)
• Ron Kim (2.8%)
• Benjamin Yee (2.6%)
• Nomiki Konst (2.3%)
• Helal Sheikh (1.3%)
• David Eisenbach (.8%)
• Manny Alicandro (.7%)
• Tony Herbert (.7%)
• Latrice Walker (.6%)
• Jared Rich (.2%)