City Council Member Jumaane Williams will be New York City's new Public Advocate, the city's second-highest position, after garnering 33 percent of the vote (with 93 percent of scanners of reporting, or 127,276 votes), according to the NYC Board of Elections.
— Brigid Bergin (@brigidbergin) February 27, 2019
Williams, a progressive Brooklyn legislator who "proudly bucks convention and touts his clashes with authorities," earned the support of Brooklyn Democrats and coveted endorsements, after his surprisingly strong primary run for Lieutenant Governor alongside Zephyr Teachout. He bested sixteen other candidates who were vying to fill the position vacated by Letitia James, who was elected as New York State Attorney General last year.
Ten years ago at this pollsite PS 269 on Nostrand Ave I Iearned I became a NYC Councilmember.
I made it my last stop of the night tonight.
Thank you all for everything!!
The most you can ask yourself is to do the best that you can.
No matter the results tonight#WeDidThat pic.twitter.com/N4ZjI6JaAv
— Jumaane Williams (@JumaaneWilliams) February 27, 2019
This special election was open to all of NYC's 4,672,301 active voters (PDF). With 365,257 votes counted so far (93 percent of scanners reporting), turnout is at 8.1 percent. The NY Times reports that the Board of Election may be spending up to $15 million on this election.
The second highest vote-getter, Council Member Eric Ulrich, a Republican from Queens who was endorsed by the Daily News, has pulled in 19 percent of the vote so far, trailing Williams by more than 50,000 votes.
“He did a great job, New Yorkers have spoken, they have elected him as the next public advocate of the city of New York and Im going to work closely with him,” @eric_ulrich says in concession speech to @JumaaneWilliams #NY1Politics
— Gloria Pazmino (@GloriaPazmino) February 27, 2019
The former progressive City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito who lucked out with the best ballot position, has just over 11 percent of votes at present.
Hello NYC voters! Here’s what’s facing you at the polls today. pic.twitter.com/iMwX4w2jtT
— Kate Hinds (@katehinds) February 26, 2019
Because today’s contest was merely a special election, Williams is only secure in his position until June 25th, when he will need to win a primary, and then a general election on November 5th. Meaning there will likely be another scramble for Public Advocate.
At any rate, the Working Families Party, who supported Williams during last year's primary, claimed victory, with its State Director Bill Lipton issuing a statement:
This win is particularly sweet. The WFP has been with Jumaane since the very beginning. Even before he ran for office, Jumaane was an advocate for those in need. Now he can champion a people's agenda of criminal justice reform, police accountability, fair and affordable housing, women's choice, and equality for all from one of New York City's biggest platforms. He's the Public Advocate New Yorkers need and deserve.
"This is another big victory for the progressive movement that swept away the corporate Democrats in the IDC and ousted Republicans from the State Senate. Tonight is proof positive that progressives in this state have never been stronger. We won't stop until we've built a New York that works for the many, not the few."
The New York Working Families Party is a people powered political party that recruits, trains, and elects the next generation of progressive leaders. In 2009 the WFP and Jumaane teamed up to defeat a longtime incumbent and win Jumaane's first election to the New York City Council. They've been partners ever since. In 2018 the WFP backed his primary challenge against Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, where he won New York City by a commanding margin.
AG James also issued her congratulations/passed the baton:
Congratulations to @JumaaneWilliams, New York City’s new Public Advocate.
This office has the power to make real and lasting change in the lives of New Yorkers and I look forward to working with you to improve our city each and every day.
— Tish James (@TishJames) February 27, 2019
Mayor Bill de Blasio just issued a statement, "I join all New Yorkers in congratulating Jumaane Williams for being elected New York City’s Public Advocate. As a former Public Advocate, I know firsthand how important this office is to our city. The Public Advocate holds our entire City government accountable and amplifies the voices of all New Yorkers. I look forward to working with Public Advocate Williams to continue making this the fairest big city in America."
Williams' running mate during the 2018 primary, Cynthia Nixon, Tweeted her congratulations: