City A.M. Reporter
NEW YORK mayor Michael Bloomberg was narrowly re-elected yesterday having changed the law to allow himself a third term in office and spent $100m (£60m) on campaign advertising.<br /><br />Bloomberg, 67, whose personal worth is estimated at $16bn, edged out Democratic rival Bill Thompson who spent $7m on his campaign, 13 times less than Bloomberg who built his fortune with the Bloomberg financial news agency.<br /><br />In what turned out to be an unexpectedly tight race, Bloomberg polled 51 per cent of the vote to Thompson’s 46 per cent – a difference of just 51,000 votes in a city of 8.3m people.<br /><br />Democrats were left wondering what might have been if more resources had been poured into underdog Thompson’s campaign which relied on donations and matching funds.<br /><br />Eyebrows were raised last month when President Barrack Obama gave little more than a lukewarm endorsement for the Democratic mayoral candidate through a White House spokesman who did not even refer to Thompson by name. <br /><br />The election of right-leaning Bloomberg, who ran as an independent candidate on the Republican ticket, was a blow to Obama on the eve of the first anniversary of his historic election victory.<br /><br />On the same day Republican candidates beat off Democrats in mayoral elections in New Jersey and Virginia.<br /><br />In New Jersey, former Goldman Sachs chief executive Jon Corzine, the sitting mayor, was ousted by Republican Chris Christie despite Obama coming out strongly in favour of Corzine on the campaign trail and in TV ads. <br /><br />Bloomberg, who promised he would “work twice as hard in the next four years as he had done over the previous eight”, was blasted by Thompson for his “obscene” spending on re-election that was the equivalent of $15,000 an hour. The New York Public Interest Research Group said the amount was “distorting the democratic process”. Prior to the election Bloomberg, who was viewed as a steady hand during the dramatic economic upheavals of the past two years, abandoned his long term support for a cap on mayoral terms to allow for his second re-election.