Bill de Blasio was an afterthought in the New York City mayoral race just weeks ago. Now, he's a front-runner.

De Blasio is the city's public advocate and the most liberal member of the Democratic field trying to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

He has been a vocal critic of the New York Police Department and wants to raise taxes on the city's richest residents to pay for pre-kindergarten programs. He has put his interracial family at the center of his campaign and surged in the polls after Anthony Weiner's support collapsed.

De Blasio says people want a "real change" after 12 years of Bloomberg.

Pundits believe de Blasio is peaking at the right time, but the race is too close to call. The primary is Sept. 10.

[Associated Press]