We’ve been wondering why NYC Mayor Bloomberg, who presumably will win his upcoming re-election in a cakewalk, is fighting so hard against opponent Bill Thomson. And he is really fighting hard — he’s spending an enormous amount of money on attack ads, as well as organising, as we see Bloomberg people gathered all around the city.
Anyway, here’s why: The economic crisis is taking its toll on incumbent mayors around the country.
POLITICO: Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, a second-term incumbent and president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, was defeated for re-election in an August primary by two candidates with thin political resumes. On October 6, Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez fell short in his bid for a third consecutive term, putting the city’s top office in Republican hands for the first time in a quarter-century.
Even for mayors who have survived re-election campaigns, the results haven’t been pretty. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who beat an incumbent by 18 points to win the seat in 2005, won a second term earlier this year with just 56 per cent of the vote despite facing no significant opposition.
In two more elections coming up next month, high-profile mayors are expected to prevail, though by considerably smaller margins than they’ve been accustomed to winning. Boston’s Tom Menino, who barely cracked 50 per cent in a September primary election, is drawing support from just 52 per cent of likely voters in his bid for a fifth term. New York City’s Michael Bloomberg, too, attracted just 52 per cent of votes in a recent poll.
The reality on election day could even be worse. Turnout is likely to be low, which means anything can happen, but all those unemployed, disgruntled voters have time to vote, and they probably won’t be voting for Bloomberg.