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NEW YORK (AP) - Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has capped a surge from seemingly nowhere in New York City's mayoral primary with a commanding lead on his Democratic opponents. He hovers near the threshold needed to avoid a runoff.

Former Metropolitan Transit Authority Chairman Joe Lhota easily won the GOP nomination Tuesday in the chaotic campaign to succeed 12 years of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

With 94 percent of precincts reporting, de Blasio has just over 40 percent of the total vote. He needs to stay above 40 percent in order to avoid triggering an automatic Oct. 1 runoff. If he cannot, he will face former city Comptroller Bill Thompson, who has just over 26 percent.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was third, followed by current city Comptroller John Liu and Weiner. Elections officials are expected to count an additional thousands of votes in coming days as absentee ballots arrive by mail and paperwork comes in from voters who had problems at the polls.