New York City elects first Democrat as mayor in two decades

NEW YORK (CNN) – New York City voters Tuesday elected a Democrat to the mayor's office for the first time in two decades, giving progressive city Public Advocate Bill de Blasio a victory over Republican nominee Joe Lhota.

De Blasio had been widely expected to pull out a landslide win. In the days before the election, polls indicated he was ahead of his opponent by about 40 percentage points.
At the center of the race were disagreements over taxes and the city's controversial "stop-and-frisk" program backed by incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

De Blasio campaigned on a promise to raise taxes on those earning more than $500,000 a year to pay for universal pre-kindergarten, an idea Lhota vehemently opposed.

While Lhota painted himself as a fiscal conservative, he sought distance from national Republicans on social issues by reiterating his support of abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

As for the stop-and-frisk policing tactics - which critics call racial profiling - de Blasio said he would replace Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, appoint an independent inspector general and take sufficient steps to end the searches.