MANHATTAN – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg celebrated his 2005 re-election last Tuesday night, Nov. 8, at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in Manhattan. The celebration marked the fourth consecutive mayoral election victory for Republicans.
The mayor’s 20-point margin of victory over Democratic candidate Fernando Ferrer set a Republican record for mayoral elections in New York City. It surpassed Rudolph Giuliani’s 16-point margin of victory in 1997 over Ruth Messinger.
Bloomberg opened his victory speech by recalling election night 2001, when he first took office less than two months after Sept. 11, 2001.
“Four years ago, our victory, however sweet, was tempered by the terrible loss our city had just suffered,” Bloomberg said. “That night we told the world that New York was alive and well and open for business.”
With a pointedly diverse crowd of supporters, from former Democratic mayor Ed Koch to former NBA star Earvin “Magic” Johnson as emcee, the mayor sported a varied political base.
The former Democrat from Massachusetts thanked his supporters, including 55,000 volunteers, and cited his ability to transcend party lines as the biggest reason for his reelection.
“We said we’d build the most diverse campaign in history and we did,” Bloomberg said. “Many came over to join us because they knew that this election was about leadership not partisanship and I thank them all.”
“Never has a coalition like this come together before,” the mayor added. “I’m incredibly proud of that.”
The extravagant victory party at the Sheraton, which included an open bar, blasting music, and unique lighting effects, proved to be just a small taste of Bloomberg’s record-spending mayoral campaign. Bloomberg, the billionaire owner of Bloomberg L.P., a multi-media based distributor of information sources, spent over $70 million of his own money on his re-election.
While Ferrer and his supporters often pointed to an unfair advantage in campaign spending, the mayor’s base insists that bipartisanship and hard work is what won Bloomberg re-election.
“The campaign was long and hard, with a lot of time invested, but it all paid off tonight,” said Wayne Pinsent, the Queens Office Canvassing Coordinator and a sophomore at New York University.
“It was a great campaign with a great result,” Pinsent continued. “Everyone talked about the money, but at its heart were grassroots.”
With his re-election, it is evident that New Yorkers have grown attracted to independent thinkers rather than partisan politicians. Bloomberg and his Republican predecessor, former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, both demonstrated bipartisan appeal and record-setting landslides.
“Tonight, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we go back to work,” the mayor said. “We go back to fighting for a New York where families can live safely and grow, where the rights of every citizen are protected, a city where children can learn, with good jobs and housing and health care for all. I can’t wait.”
Bloomberg continued by thanking his 96-year-old mother Charlotte, saying that “none of this could have been possible without one person.”
The mayor’s re-election comes less than two years after his job approval rating fell to just 24 percent in June 2003, according to a New York Times poll.
Bloomberg managed to overcome his unpopular property tax increases, city service cuts, and city-wide smoking ban to defeat Ferrer, the Bronx borough president advertised as a personable champion of the middle class.
“I want you to know I have worked every single day since [I was elected],” Bloomberg said. “You made the right choice four years ago.” “I always put the people’s interests ahead of political interests and special interest.”