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Outspoken Liberal Leads NYC Democratic Mayoral Primary

New York City Democratic Mayoral candidate Bill De Blasio, left, and his wife Chirlane wave to supporters at De Blasio election headquarters after polls closed in the city's primary election, Sept. 11, 2013, in New York.
Bill de Blasio has won the most votes Tuesday in a primary election to determine the Democratic candidate in New York City's mayoral race.

With more than 95 percent of all voting districts counted, de Blasio was leading with just over 40 percent of the total vote, just over the threshold needed to avoid an October 1st runoff with Bill Thompson, the city's former comptroller, or chief financial officer. Thompson, the 2009 Democratic nominee, had 26 percent of the vote.

The final vote tally will not be announced for several days, as election officials count tens of thousands of absentee ballots. If de Blasio holds on to his lead, he will face Republican nominee Joe Lhota in the November general election to succeed current Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

De Blasio, an outspoken liberal, currently serves as the city's public advocate, or internal government watchdog. He has vowed to tackle the city's wide gap between rich and poor, and to end the controversial police practice known as "stop-and-frisk." Critics say the practice unfairly targets blacks and other minorities, but Mr. Bloomberg has defended it as an effective anti-crime tool.

Former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner finished far behind de Blasio in Tuesday's primary vote. Weiner briefly led the Democratic field after entering the race several months ago, but his campaign collapsed after revelations that he had texted lewd photos of himself to women - the same behavior that forced him to resign his congressional seat in 2011.

Meanwhile, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, whose own political career also ended in a sex scandal, lost to Scott Stringer in the Democratic primary for city comptroller. Spitzer quit the governorship in 2008 after he it was revealed he paid for prostitutes.