New York City mayoral election, 2001

New York City mayoral election, 2001
New York City mayoral election, 2001
New York City
1997 ←
November 6, 2001
→ 2005

  Michael R Bloomberg.jpg Mark Green 2 by David Shankbone.jpg
Candidate Michael Bloomberg Mark J. Green
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 744,757 709,268
Percentage 50.3% 47.9%

Mayor before election

Rudy Giuliani

Elected Mayor

Michael Bloomberg

The New York City mayoral election of 2001 occurred on November 6, 2001. Incumbent Republican mayor Rudy Giuliani could not run again due to term limits. As Democrats outnumber Republicans by 5 to 1 in the city, it was widely believed that a Democrat would succeed him in City Hall. However, businessman Michael Bloomberg, a lifelong Democrat, changed his party affiliation a few months before the election in order to avoid a crowded primary, and ran as a Republican. Mark J. Green narrowly defeated Fernando Ferrer in the primary, surviving a negative contest that divided the party. A number of factors led to Bloomberg's ultimate victory in the general election, 49% to Green's 47%.

This was the third straight Republican mayoral victory in an overwhelmingly Democratic city.



The primaries were originally scheduled for September 11. However, due to the September 11 attacks, the primary was cancelled and was rescheduled for September 25, and the run-off occurred on October 11. [1][2].

Late in the primary, Green was roundly criticized for the actions of supporters that were construed as racist, involving literature with New York Post caricatures of Ferrer and Al Sharpton distributed in white enclaves of Brooklyn and Staten Island. Green stated that he had nothing to do with the dissemination of the literature. An investigation by the Brooklyn District Attorney came to the conclusion that "Mark Green had no knowledge of these events, and that when he learned of them, he repeatedly denounced the distribution of this literature and sought to find out who had engaged in it."[3] Nevertheless, the incident is thought to have diminished minority turnout in the general election and helped the Republican candidate win in an overwhelmingly Democratic city. (Village Voice columnist Peter Noel wrote that "Mark Green ... may have replaced [Giuliani] as the most hated white man in the African American community,"[4] an ironic twist for someone who had been so popular in that community for so long.)

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks occurred on the morning that the primaries had been scheduled and also may have contributed to Green's loss, since the media barely covered the subsequent general election.

In the Green party Walter Iwachiw's write in campaign showed a strong grassroots support against Julia Willebrand, the board of election approved candidate. On 9-11-2001, Walter Iwachiw after turning over the campaign website to request emergency blood donations, became a first responder, first at the local firehouse, then the following day at ground zero and sustained injuries precluding participation in the rescheduled green primary as a write-in candidate. Despite earlier bias by Mr. Molinari and other Board of Election members, who dismissed the valid petitions of several green party candidates while validating George Spitz's equivalent valid petitions, there was strong grass root write-in support for Walter Iwachiw. [1]

General election candidates

Republican Party

  • Michael R. Bloomberg

Democratic Party

  • Mark J. Green

Conservative Party

  • Terrance M. Gray

Liberal Party

  • Alan G. Hevesi

Green Party

  • Julia Willebrand

Libertarian Party

  • Kenny Kramer

American Dream Party

  • Kenneth B. Golding

Marijuana Reform Party

  • Thomas K. Leighton

Working Families Party

  • Mark J. Green

Unsuccessful candidates

Republican Party

  • Herman Badillo

Democratic Party

  • Fernando Ferrer
  • Peter F. Vallone
  • Alan G. Hevesi
  • George Spitz



Initial results

Democratic Primary, September 25, 2001
Manhattan The Bronx Brooklyn Queens Staten Island Total
Fernando Ferrer 60,839 86,571 77,516 49,441 5,084 279,451
Mark Green 83,856 26,125 77,805 49,692 5,704 243,182
Peter F. Vallone (Sr.) 25,296 18,268 51,210 48,576 11,842 155,192
Alan G. Hevesi 32,925 6,066 25,110 27,163 3,504 94,768
George N. Spitz 1,558 1,264 2,923 2,489 283 8,517

Green clearly led among Manhattan's Democrats, Ferrer among The Bronx's and Vallone among Staten Island's. Ferrer and Green were evenly matched in Brooklyn, while all three candidates were essentially tied in Queens.

Runoff results

Democratic Primary Runoff
Manhattan The Bronx Brooklyn Queens Staten Island Total
Mark Green 131,438 38,256 120,781 94,342 18,183 403,000
Fernando Ferrer 86,579 106,086 109,831 77,330 7,193 387,019


Republican Primary, September 25, 2001
Manhattan The Bronx Brooklyn Queens Staten Island Total
Michael Bloomberg 10,959 3,230 10,168 14,543 9,155 48,055
Herman Badillo 4,161 1,838 4,153 5,700 2,624 18,476

General election campaign

Unlike his cash-poor Democratic rival, who had just emerged from an expensive primary and expected to rely on traditionally reliable free media coverage that never materialized, Bloomberg continued to spend $74 million on TV ads and direct mail in the weeks after the attacks, which was a record amount at the time for a non-presidential election (Bloomberg would break his own record in 2005). [5]

Rudy Giuliani, who suddenly had an extremely high popularity rating even among minorities, publicly endorsed Bloomberg.[2]

Additionally, Green made a controversial decision during the primary run-off to support Giuliani's unprecedented attempt to extend his own mayoral term, in the name of the emergency of 9/11. Ferrer opposed Giuliani's ultimately unsuccessful attempt at term self-extension, and was able to accuse Green of being rolled over by Giuliani.

The Economist wrote, "The billionaire businessman [Bloomberg] is usually seen as one of the post-September 11th winners (if such a word can be so used): he would probably have lost the mayoralty to Mark Green, a leftish Democrat, had the terrorist strike not happened. Yet it is also worth noting that his election probably spared New York city a turbulent period of score-settling over Rudy Giuliani's legacy."[3]

The election was also notable for two non-politician semi-celebrities running on third-party tickets: Bernhard Goetz, who had achieved fame in 1984 as the "subway vigilante" for shooting four youths who tried to rob him, on the Fusion Party ticket, and Kenny Kramer, who was the inspiration for the character Cosmo Kramer on the TV show Seinfeld, on the Libertarian Party ticket.

General election results

Michael Bloomberg secured victory in a close election, with 744,757 votes. Although he lost in three of the five boroughs, he was able to collect enough votes in Staten Island and Queens so that he may come in as a tight first. Due to New York's electoral fusion rules, all candidates were allowed to run representing different parties.

General Election
Manhattan The Bronx Brooklyn Queens Staten Island Total
Republican- Independence Michael R. Bloomberg 179,797 80,597 189,040 210,432 84,891 744,757
Democratic-Working Families Mark J. Green 202,574 102,280 217,222 163,528 23,664 709,268
Conservative Terrance M. Gray 507 642 844 1,219 365 3,577
Liberal-Better Schools Alan G. Hevesi 2,684 847 2,124 1,886 486 10,331
Green Julia Willebrand 2,241 670 2,456 1,579 209 7,155
American Dream Kenneth B. Golding 96 112 163 81 22 474
Libertarian Kenny Kramer 368 296 338 306 100 1,408
Fusion Bernhard H. Goetz 203 201 333 253 59 1,049
Marijuana Reform Party Thomas K. Leighton 791 529 680 418 145 2,563


  1. ^*/
  2. ^ Nagourney, Adam. "Bloomberg Puts Eggs In a Basket: Giuliani's", The New York Times, October 28, 2001. Accessed December 31, 2007. "Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's decision to endorse Michael R. Bloomberg at City Hall yesterday provides Mr. Bloomberg with perhaps his greatest hope for victory as he moves into the final days of what his supporters describe as a troubled campaign."
  3. ^ " New York's difficult year", The Economist, September 12, 2002. Accessed December 31, 2007.

See also

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