Bloomberg: It Wasn't Me, It Was the Economy

Mayor says national backlash caused close contest

By Jennifer Millman and Hasani Gittens
|  Wednesday, Nov 4, 2009  |  Updated 2:23 PM EDT
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Blooomberg: Blame It on the Economy

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Blame it on the e-e-e-e-economy.

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Blooomberg: Blame It on the Economy

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says last night's slim victory over his Democratic challenger was about the national backlash against all incumbents, not about his controversial move to extend term limits.
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Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg is trying to portray his narrow third term win as part of a national backlash against incumbents rather than a response to his controversial push to extend term limits last year.

He told reporters that his five-point victory over Democrat William Thompson Jr. was a product of voters' frustration with the economy, not with him. He pointed to other elections Tuesday as proof.

"Given what you saw in New Jersey and Virginia ... that was as close to a mandate as I think can possibly come in a very difficult time," Bloomberg said when asked about the narrow margin of victory, which he later said he didn't think was narrow at all. "The public clearly is saying that they don't want partisan politics. They want people to focus, work together and improve this city."

While the mayoral race was tighter than many expected, Bloomberg was one of the few incumbents to keep his job. New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine lost to his GOP challenger, Chris Christie, by about five points.  And Virginia voters elected a Republican to succeed their Democratic governor. Both gubernatorial elections fell to the GOP despite the efforts of President Barack Obama to campaign with the Democratic candidates.

Meanwhile, Westchester County's executive lost his bid for a fourth term. And a Long Island incumbent county executive was in danger of being unseated -- the race was still too close to call Wednesday.

And while Bloomberg may have blamed the economy for his lack of a blowout, the campaign itself was a mini-stimulus package for political consultants and fixers.

Its estimated that Bloomberg will have spent at least $100 million on his third-term re-election campaign by the time all the bills tallied, while defeated challenger shelled out only about $6 million.

So, in this city where everyone appreciates a good deal, and no one ever wants to pay retail, what value did the two mayoral contenders get for their money?

The Daily News’ sharp political reporter Adam Lisberg crunched the numbers rather quickly and determined that Bloomberg spent about $151.27 per vote for his 557,059 ballots and William Thompson paid only $13.12 per person for his 509,717 votes.

Billy, that’s what we call a bargain.

Of course, those tallies don’t include absentee ballots, but either way it seems that even if Thompson didn’t win the mayor’s race, he did win the price

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