De Blasio Makes Final Campaign Stop in Crown Heights

Bill de Blasio in Crown Heights today.

Bill de Blasio in Crown Heights today.

Bill de Blasio appeared for the final time on the campaign trail today, choosing Crown Heights–the neighborhood at the center of the 20-year-old race riots that his rival, Joe Lhota, attempted to blame him for–to triumphantly greet a slew of ecstatic voters hours before the polls close.

It was the front-running mayoral candidate’s only public stop of the day, aside from a photo-op as he voted earlier this morning.

For Mr. de Blasio, who is leading by huge margins in the polls, the brief visit amounted to a victory lap. Fawning voters lined up to meet the man they were convinced would be the next mayor, as members of the Brooklyn Democratic establishment, many of whom spurned Mr. de Blasio during the tumultuous Democratic primary, clustered around him to celebrate his expected victory.

“De-Blasiooooo,” sang Councilwoman Tish James, repeating a song written for Mr. de Blasio, as voters in the predominately black neighborhood eagerly shook hands, hugged and posed for pictures with the lanky Democrat.

“That’s Obama’s friend!” gushed one mother, cradling her young son just outside the Utica Avenue subway stop.

Ken Thompson, the Democratic candidate for Brooklyn district attorney, and Ms. James, the likely next public advocate, joined local pols including Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Councilman Mathieu Eugene and Assemblyman Karim Camara at the stop. Borough President Marty Markowitz, a loud backer of Council Speaker Christine Quinn in the primary, weaved through the crowd to pay his respects.

“This was my favorite station,” Mr. Markowitz, roughly a foot shorter than Mr. de Blasio, told the mayoral hopeful.

“It’s like campaigning with Jesus,” Mr. de Blasio said with a laugh, recalling when the borough president stumped with him four years ago as he ran for public advocate.

“Not bad for a Markowitz,” the outgoing borough president added.

Reporters and photographers craned at Mr. de Blasio from behind a railing on Eastern Parkway. His aides, as with most events since Mr. de Blasio became the unequivocal front-runner, strained to clear a path between supporters so voters could meet Mr. de Blasio and still reach the station’s stairway.

“Push it back and open it up,” Mr. de Blasio told his staffers.

As Mr. de Blasio finished up and hustled toward his waiting SUV–a cloud of cameras trailing him–the Democrat, grinning, had little to say.

“Let him breathe!” cried one woman, not a member of the city’s press corps.

De Blasio Makes Final Campaign Stop in Crown Heights