NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio wins re-election

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, with son Dante de Blasio (L) and wife Chirlane McCray (R), greets supporters after his re-election in New York City, U.S. November 7, 2017.

BRENDAN MCDERMID / REUTERS

NEW YORK -- Mayor Bill de Blasio cruised to re-election on Tuesday, fending off token opposition to win a second term as the leader of the nation's largest city. 

De Blasio, a Democrat, easily defeated Republican state lawmaker Nicole Malliotakis and several third-party candidates. The Associated Press called the election for de Blasio shortly after polls closed in the city, which leans heavily Democratic. 

"You wanted four more years? You got four more years," de Blasio told supporters in his victory speech Tuesday night.  

On the campaign trail, de Blasio touted his rollout of universal pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds and efforts to increase affordable housing. He also cited low crime rates and his work to address his city's notoriously high cost of living.

First elected four years ago, de Blasio emerged as a national leader in progressive politics. But his administration often found itself bogged down in feuds with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, and investigations into campaign donations and pay-to-play politics. 

Earlier in the day, de Blasio spoke to CBS New York about what it would mean to him to become the first Democrat to win re-election as mayor of New York City since Ed Koch – who served from 1978 to 1989.

"There's no reason in the world we should have had 20 years of Republican mayors in New York City," he said.

De Blasio's toughest challenger on Tuesday, Malliotakis, called the mayor ineffective. 

After voting at a school not far from her home on Staten Island, Malliotakis was emotional and wiping away tears while speaking about her mom and dad, who were standing by their side, CBS New York reported.

"Because they came as immigrants to this country, not speaking the language, not having any family," she said. "My mother fled a communist regime, my father came from Greece with $50 in his pocket. And yet today, they are casting a vote for their daughter to be mayor of the city of New York."

Third-party candidates in the race included independent Bo Dietl, a former detective. 

The 56-year-old mayor has vowed that in his second term he will further expand pre-kindergarten to 3-year-olds and increase investments in affordable housing. He also has promised to continue to speak out for the city's immigrant and minority communities and be a vocal critic of President Trump.

The city leans heavily to the left, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans by a 6-1 ratio. 

Meanwhile, voters statewide in New York also rejected calls for the to hold its first constitutional convention in 50 years.

The state hasn't held a constitutional convention since 1967 and supporters of a new convention had said it would be an opportunity to address chronic political corruption while updating and strengthening the state's governing document.

Opponents worried that deep-pocketed special interests could take over a convention and undermine existing constitutional safeguards. An odd assortment of individuals and groups joined forces to campaign against a convention, including labor unions, gun rights supporters, Planned Parenthood, anti-abortion groups, top Republicans and leading Democrats.