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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

November 5, 2013 at 10:22 PM

Big brother of New York City’s next mayor celebrates in Kirkland

Ed Murray and Mike McGinn were the only mayoral candidates most Seattle-area voters were concerned about Tuesday.

That wasn’t the case with Steve Wilhelm, of Kirkland, though, who watched his little brother, Bill de Blasio, become the mayor-elect of New York City on Tuesday night.

Wilhelm, a reporter at the Puget Sound Business Journal for the past 25 years, said that although it’s surreal to finally see his brother elected leader of the Big Apple, he wasn’t surprised.

“It’s been building for a long time, but it’s still amazing,” Wilhelm said. “He’s a real mensch, as they say in New York.”

Wilhelm, who is 13 years older than de Blasio, said he never heard his little brother dream of being New York mayor as a long-term ambition. De Blasio, who began using his maternal family’s last name after his parents’ divorce, has served as a school-board member and as a sort of ombudsman  between voters and city government as New York City’s public advocate. 

“He was just trying to do well where he was,” Wilhelm said. “He can be a tremendous consensus builder, and I’ve watched him get better at that over the years.”

Wilhelm watched his brother and his family campaign and celebrate a surprising primary win in person earlier this year, and he plans to go back to New York City for his brother’s inauguration on Jan. 1.

“The primary was totally surprising, but he really communicates with people and listens,” Wilhelm said. “You add that up and New York just got it.”

Comments | More in Politics Northwest | Topics: Bill de Blasio, Puget Sound Business Journal, Steve Wilhelm


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