New York City mayoralty elections

New York City mayoralty elections

The Mayor of the City of New York is elected in early November every four years and takes office at the beginning of the following year. The City which elects the Mayor as her chief executive consists of The Five Boroughs (Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island) which consolidated to form "Greater" New York on January 1, 1898.

The consolidated City's first Mayor, Robert A. Van Wyck, was elected with other municipal officers in November 1897. Mayoral Elections had previously been held since 1834 by the City of Brooklyn and the smaller, unconsolidated City of New York (Manhattan, later expanded into the Bronx).

The current mayor of New York, now completing his second term, is Michael R. Bloomberg (elected in 2001 and 2005). The next mayoral election will be held in November 2009 for the term beginning on January 1, 2010.


cope of this article

The vast bulk of this page's contents is statistical: the main results, city-wide and by borough, of each of the 31 elections to the Mayoralty of the City of New York since Greater New York was consolidated from The Five Boroughs in 1897-1898.

For many years, but not all, there are also results for minor candidates and for the different parties nominating the same major candidate. (Because minor parties' votes are not uniformly available, totals and thus percentages can be slightly inconsistent, either between different elections or between individual boroughs and the whole City in the same election.)

There are brief comments about some of the elections, and separate articles have been written for those of 1917, 1997, 2001 and 2005. Different elections are compared in many of the individual notes, in two summary tables and in one specialized table.

New York City's Mayoral elections have been marked by an interplay of factors that are magnified by the sheer size of the population. There was a history of a large socialist vote, there is a history of tension between 'regular' and 'reform' politicians, and there is the factor, not seen in most of the United States, of electoral fusion with the resulting plethora of smaller, yet influential, third parties.

Terms and Term Limits (since 1834)

Direct elections to the mayoralty of the unconsolidated City of New York began in 1834 for a term of one year, extended to two years after 1849. The 1897 Charter of the consolidated City doubled the term to four years which could not be renewed. In 1901, the term limit was removed, but the term halved to two years. In 1905, the four-year term, without limit, was restored. (Mayors Fiorello La Guardia, Robert F. Wagner, Jr. and Ed Koch were later able to serve for twelve years each.) [For further details, see [ Third Term No Charm, Historians Say] by Sewell Chan, "The New York Times" "City Room", published and retrieved on October 1, 2008.] In 1993, the voters approved a two-term (eight-year) limit. †

Abbreviations used in this table: F or Fu. = Fusion, I or Ind. = Independent, Indep. Citizens = Independent Citizens (1965), Ind Fu = Independent Fusion (1993), Ind'ce = Independence Party of New York, L or Lib. = Liberal Party of New York, C or Cons. = Conservative Party of New York, ALP = American Labor Party, S or Soc. = Socialist Party of America, NP = Non-Partisan, Wkg Fam = Working Families Party, Prog = Progressive, Jeff D = The Democracy of Thomas Jefferson (Henry George, 1897), Muni. Ownership League = Municipal Ownership League, Civic All. = Civic Alliance (Hearst 1909), Anticomm. = Anticommunist (Mahoney 1937), Exp = Experience party (Impellitteri's label for his independent campaign in 1950)

How the Boroughs voted

See the table above for more information about the candidates and parties involved. Blue indicates a candidate endorsed by the Democratic Party; pink one endorsed by the Republicans; and buff (or beige) one endorsed by neither party. (Darker shades indicate where a borough voted for a candidate who lost the city-wide vote.) In 1981, Edward Koch ran on the tickets of both the Democrats and the Republicans.

Click a year to see the table or tables for that particular election (# indicates a link devoted to one specific election rather than to a set of two to six.)

Although separate boroughs since 1898, The Bronx and Manhattan shared New York County and reported elections together until the separate Bronx County was formed in April 1912 and started her separate existence on January 1, 1914. The Borough of Richmond changed her name to the Borough of Staten Island in 1975, although the co-extensive Richmond County still retains that name.

NY Election candidate
name = Henry Hewes
party = Right to Life
manhattan =
bronx =
brooklyn =
queens =
staten =
total = 17,460
NY Election candidate
name = Ronald S. Lauder
party = Conservative
manhattan =
bronx =
brooklyn =
queens =
staten =
total = 9,271
NY Election end
total = 1,899,845
NY Election begin
title = Democratic Primary
color = 99CCFF
NY Election candidate
name = David N. Dinkins
party =
manhattan = 151,113
bronx = 101,274
brooklyn = 170,440
queens = 113,952
staten = 11,122
total = 547,901
NY Election candidate
name = Edward I. Koch
party =
manhattan = 96,923
bronx = 66,600
brooklyn = 139,268
queens = 129,262
staten = 24,260
total = 456,313
NY Election candidate
name = Harrison J. Goldin
party =
manhattan = 6,889
bronx = 4,951
brooklyn = 9,619
queens = 5,857
staten = 1,493
total = 28,809
NY Election candidate
name = Richard Ravitch
party =
manhattan = 17,499
bronx = 5,946
brooklyn = 13,214
queens = 9,443
staten = 1,432
total = 47,534


NY Election begin
title = General Election
color =
NY Election candidate
name = Edward I. Koch
party = Democratic - Independent
manhattan = 171,582
bronx = 137,472
brooklyn = 248,585
queens = 248,041
staten = 62,580
total = 868,260
NY Election candidate
name = Carol Bellamy
party = Liberal
manhattan = 41,190
bronx = 14,092
brooklyn = 29,256
queens = 25,098
staten = 3,835
total = 113,471
NY Election candidate
name = Diane McGrath
party = Republican - Conservative
manhattan = 17,491
bronx = 12,358
brooklyn = 25,738
queens = 36,032
staten = 10,049
total = 101,668
NY Election end
total = 1,106,762


NY Election begin
title = General Election
color =
NY Election candidate
name = Edward I. Koch
party = Democratic - Republican
manhattan = 189,631
bronx = 132,421
brooklyn = 261,292
queens = 275,812
staten = 53,466
total = 912,622
NY Election candidate
name = Frank J. Barbaro
party = Unity
manhattan = 56,702
bronx = 22,074
brooklyn = 48,812
queens = 31,225
staten = 3,906
total = 162,719
NY Election end
total = 1,222,644


In his 2005 book "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning", historian Jonathan Mahler argues that the New York City blackout of 1977, with its accompanying rioting, enabled the law-and-order advocate Ed Koch to beat out his more left-wing opponents, including incumbent mayor Abe Beame, in the 1977 election.

NY Election begin
title = General Election
color =
NY Election candidate
name = Edward I. Koch
party = Democratic
manhattan = 184,842
bronx = 116,436
brooklyn = 204,934
queens = 191,894
staten = 19,270
total = 717,376
NY Election candidate
name = Mario M. Cuomo
party = Liberal - Neighborhood Government
manhattan = 77,531
bronx = 87,421
brooklyn = 173,321
queens = 208,748
staten = 40,932
total = 587,913
NY Election candidate
name = Roy M. Goodman
party = Republican
manhattan = 19,321
bronx = 6,102
brooklyn = 11,491
queens = 18,460
staten = 3,229
total = 58,606
NY Election candidate
name = Barry M. Farber
party = Conservative
manhattan =
bronx =
brooklyn =
queens =
staten =
total = 57,437
NY Election end
total = 1,370,142
NY Election begin
title = Democratic Primary Runoff
color = 99CCFF
NY Election candidate
name = Edward I. Koch
party =
manhattan = 114,084
bronx = 69,230
brooklyn = 131,538
queens = 107,182
staten = 9,770
total = 431,839
NY Election candidate
name = Mario M. Cuomo
party =
manhattan = 61,555
bronx = 55,017
brooklyn = 112,862
queens = 105,149
staten = 19,639
total = 354,222
NY Election begin
title = Democratic Primary
color = 99CCFF
NY Election candidate
name = Edward I. Koch
party =
manhattan = 49,855
bronx = 23,237
brooklyn = 49,894
queens = 51,515
staten = 5,747
total = "180,248"
NY Election candidate
name = Mario M. Cuomo
party =
manhattan = 25,056
bronx = 22,939
brooklyn = 55,439
queens = 56,719
staten = 10,335
total = 170,488
NY Election candidate
name = Abraham D. Beame
party =
manhattan = 23,057
bronx = 25,534
brooklyn = 62,921
queens = 44,342
staten = 7,306
total = 163,610
NY Election candidate
name = Bella Abzug
party =
manhattan = 54,591
bronx = 20,429
brooklyn = 37,790
queens = 33,623
staten = 4,286
total = 150,719
NY Election candidate
name = Percy Sutton
party =
manhattan = 34,742
bronx = 24,588
brooklyn = 42,215
queens = 28,286
staten = 1,366
total = 131,197
NY Election candidate
name = Herman Badillo
party =
manhattan = 26,895
bronx = 34,246
brooklyn = 28,838
queens = 8,961
staten = 868
total = 99,808
Note that the eventual winner, Rep. Ed Koch, could not win a plurality in any of the Five Boroughs for the initial Democratic primary. Rep. Bella Abzug took Manhattan, Mayor Abe Beame Brooklyn, Rep. Herman Badillo the Bronx, and NY Sec. of State Mario Cuomo Queens & Staten Island. In the Democratic run-off with Cuomo, Koch took Queens and three other boroughs, leaving Cuomo with only Staten Island. In the general election, Cuomo kept Staten Island and won back Queens, but lost the other three boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn and The Bronx) to Koch.

1929 to 1973

Some figures and anecdotes courtesy James Trager's "New York Chronology" (HarperCollins: 2003). Other numbers are from "The World Almanac and Book of Facts", then published by "The New York World-Telegram" (Scripps-Howard), for 1943 (page 412) and 1957 (page 299), and from "The Encyclopedia of New York City" (see Sources below).

Before 1975, the present Borough of Staten Island was formally known as The Borough of Richmond.


Over a quarter of Lindsay's vote (293,194) was on the Liberal Party line, while over 60,000 of Beame's votes were on the Civil Service Fusion line. John Lindsay, a Republican Congressman from the "Silk-Stocking" District on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, carried Manhattan, Queens, and traditionally-Republican Staten Island (Richmond), while Abe Beame, the City Comptroller, carried The Bronx and his home borough of Brooklyn. [Page 41 of the 1966 "World Almanac & Book of Facts" and page 69 of Cannato's [ "The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and His Struggle to Save New York"] ] (Five years later, Bill Buckley's brother James L. Buckley would win the 1970 New York state election for U.S. Senator on the Conservative Party line against divided opposition.)


"Industrial Government" is a ballot title sometimes used, to avoid confusion or to meet election laws, by the Socialist Labor Party. The Liberal Party of New York won over five times as many votes as the American Labor Party in Manhattan, and eight-to-ten times as many in the other boroughs. The ALP lost its ballot status after the 1954 Governor's race, and voted to dissolve itself in 1956.


The No Deal Party (according to Chris McNickle in "The Encyclopedia of New York City") was founded by the retiring maverick Republican Mayor Fiorello La Guardia to draw Republican votes towards Newbold Morris and away from the official Republican Party with whom La Guardia was having a dispute. The No Deal Party dissolved soon after the 1945 election. Newbold Morris was a Republican, while Jonah Goldstein was a Democrat until nomination day.


As in 1937, more voters in every borough voted on the Democratic line than on any other single line; but this time (unlike 1937) the Democrat carried Queens and Staten Island over La Guardia, shrinking the Mayor's overall citywide percentage lead from 20% to 6%. As in 1937, La Guardia's overall margin of victory depended on the American Labor Party, which again won more votes than the Republicans in The Bronx. While the total vote and Republican vote were almost identical in 1937 and 1941, the ALP line lost 47,000 votes (2.4%), almost entirely from Manhattan (-18,000) and Brooklyn (-26,000), as the vote on La Guardia's other lines (Fusion, Progressive and United City) dropped from 187,000 (8.3%) to 86,000 (3.7%). The Democratic Party gained about 160,000 votes lost by La Guardia (and about 7½ % of the total). In both Queens and Richmond (Staten Island), the swing was even greater: La Guardia lost over 15% of the total vote (and the Democrats gained over 15%) from 1937, as his lead there flipped from roughly 56%-44% to 39%-60%.

While opposed by Tammany Hall, McKee enjoyed the support of Democratic President (and former Governor) Franklin D. Roosevelt, who declared neutrality when his ally Mayor La Guardia was running for reelection in #1937. (See Ed Flynn's comments about FDR's 1936 contribution to starting the American Labor Party in the #References below.) According to Michael Tomasky, La Guardia, who had lost the #1921 Republican Mayoral primary to Manhattan Borough President Henry Curran, did not enjoy the support of a united Republican Party when he won the party's nomination and lost the general election in #1929, but was able to win over Republican organizational support in 1933. [Michael Tomasky, "New York's Finest" (a review of "The Great Mayor: Fiorello La Guardia and the Making of the City of New York", by Alyn Brodsky), "New York Review of Books", February 12, 2004, page 28, available by subscription or payment at]

Collapse of the Socialist Party vote

In 1933, a year that might otherwise have favored the Socialist Party's chances, the New Deal began, Morris Hillquit died, Norman Thomas refused to run again for Mayor, and the Socialist vote (previously as high as one-eighth to one-fifth of the total) collapsed irretrievably from a quarter of a million to sixty thousand (one-thirtieth of the total). Many supporters of Thomas's 1929 campaign defected (some, like Paul Blanshard leaving the Party) to support Fiorello La Guardia. [pages 105-107 of Bernard K. Johnpoll's "Pacifist's Progress: Norman Thomas and the decline of American socialism", Quadrangle (Chicago) 1970: ISBN 0-8129-0152-5 ] By the time of the next Mayoral election in 1937, which the Socialist Party decided by internal referendum not to contest, many reformers and trade-unionists who wanted to support major-party progressives like La Guardia (R-ALP-Fusion), Gov. Herbert Lehman (D-ALP) and Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt (D-ALP) from outside the two-party structure backed the American Labor Party (ALP), the Social Democratic Federation and later the Liberal Party of New York. [See pages 113-116 of "The Emerging Republican Majority" by Kevin Phillips (Doubleday Anchor paperback edition 1970). According to the March 1950 reminiscences of FDR's advisor Ed Flynn, "President Roosevelt with Jim Farley and myself, brought the American Labor Party into being. It was entirely Roosevelt's suggestion. Farley and I never believed in it very much, but he felt at the time—and it is true today—that there were many people who believed in what Roosevelt stood for but who, for some reason or another...would not join the Democratic party. If another party were created, you could bring these people into it actively. That was really why it was created." cited in "It Didn't Happen Here: Why socialism failed in the United States", by Seymour Martin Lipset and Gary Marks (New York, 2000: W.W. Norton, ISBN 0-393-04098-4), page 342 note 56] After a disastrous gubernatorial campaign in 1938 (where Thomas and George Hartmann won only 25,000 votes out of over 4.7 million), the Socialist Party lost its separate line on the New York ballot, allowed its members to join the ALP, and in fact encouraged them to do so. In 1939, the Socialist Harry W. Laidler, a co-founder of the [ Intercollegiate Socialist Society] and League for Industrial Democracy, was elected (with the help of proportional representation) to the New York City Council on the ALP's ticket, but lost its renomination two years later because of rivalry with the Communists. [Johnpoll, "Pacifist's Progress", pages 194-5] " [Although not apparent from the table below, the Communist Party's vote for other municipal offices, such as City Council and President of the Board of Aldermen, was increasing at the same time that the Socialist Party's was declining below the Communists'. But in 1936, when the foundation of the ALP coincided with world Communism's shift from independent action towards the Popular Front, New York City Communists redirected much of their own energy towards supporting the ALP.] " [Pages 265-269 of Harvey Klehr's "The Heyday of American Communism: the Depression decade" Basic Books (NY) 1984 ISBN 0-465-02945-0 & ISBN 0-465-02946-9]


" [Others and Total from "The Encyclopedia of New York City "(Yale, 1995), which does not exactly match the other numbers, taken from" The World Almanac " for 1929 & 1943.] "

The Fall 1917 election would have been exciting even had it occurred in peacetime. In September, the City held its first-ever primary elections for Mayor. The sitting independent Democratic Mayor, John P. Mitchel, who had enjoyed Republican support under Fusion in 1913, narrowly lost the Republican primary to William Bennett, after mistakes and frauds led to a series of recounts. When negotiations between the parties failed, Mitchel ran alone as a Fusion candidate against Bennett, the Socialist Morris Hillquit and John F. Hylan, the regular Democrat supported by Tammany Hall and William Randolph Hearst.

However, the elections happened after the United States had declared war on April 6th. Hillquit and the Socialist Party quickly and vigorously opposed the war, which Mitchel vigorously supported. Hillquit's anti-war position helped the Socialists win their highest-ever vote for Mayor, but also led to vitriolic denunciations by many including "The New York Times" and former President Theodore Roosevelt. Mitchel and Hillquit each won less than quarter of the vote, while Hylan, who had been non-committal about the war, won the election with less than half the vote. However, as in 1897, the numbers suggest that Tammany Hall might have won even against a unified opposition.

1897 to 1913

The Bronx and Manhattan, although separate Boroughs since 1898, shared New York County and reported their votes together until Bronx County was formed in April 1912 and came into its separate existence on January 1, 1914.

[ "The World Almanac" does not list separate returns for the two boroughs until 1917, but "The Encyclopedia of New York City" (see Sources) gives these major candidates' results for 1913:
* "Manhattan": McCall 103,429 - Mitchel 131,280, and "The Bronx": McCall 25,684 - Mitchel 46,944. ]

Mayor William Jay Gaynor, who had survived being shot in the throat by a disappointed office-seeker in 1910, died at sea from the indirect effects of his injury on September 10, 1913. He was succeeded for the rest of 1913 by Ardolph Loges Kline, the acting President of the Board of Aldermen. The election of 1897 was held just before the Five Boroughs formally consolidated into Greater New York in 1898, so it was the present City's first Mayoral election. For preliminary results for all the municipal offices, broken down into smaller districts, see [ "DEMOCRATS TAKE ALL; The Tammany Ticket Makes Almost a Clean Sweep of the Greater City. ONLY TWO REPUBLICANS IN THE COUNCIL..."] in "The New-York Times", November 4, 1897 (seen April 11, 2008).

Henry George, author of "Progress and Poverty" and proponent of the Single Tax on land, died (probably from the strain of campaign speeches) on October 29th, four days before Election Day; his son took his place on the ballot to represent "The Democracy of Thomas Jefferson" [ [ The Single Tax Movement in the United States] by Arthur Nichols Young (Princeton, 1916), page 152] . "(In 1886, George had been the United Labor Party's candidate for Mayor of the smaller City of New York, now the Borough of Manhattan, winning 68,110 votes to 90,552 for the Democrat Abram Hewitt and 60,435 for the Republican Theodore Roosevelt, although George's supporters maintained that he had lost the election through fraud.)" [Young, [ The Single Tax Movement in the United States] , page 95. See also "History of Socialism in the United States" by Morris Hillquit (5th edition, New York 1910, reprinted New York 1971 by Dover: ISBN 0-486-22767-7), pages 249-253, and "The Forging of American Socialism" by Howard Quint (2nd edition, Indianapolis 1964: Bobbs-Merrill), pages 37-43.]

It appears from the percentages to be an open question whether the Republican Party's decision in 1897 not to support Seth Low's Fusion campaign caused his defeat by splitting the vote against Tammany Hall. Republicans withdrew in Low's favor in 1901 (when he won) and in 1903 (when he lost).

† For Lucien Sanial, see the table notes under #Collapse of the Socialist Party vote above (1933) and [ ALL THEY NEED IS VOTES; THREE CANDIDATES FOR MAYOR WHO WOULD MAKE A STIR.] in "The New-York Times" for Wednesday, November 4, 1894, page 19.



Many sources have been consulted and compared, but the most important ones are these:

* [2001-2005] The Board of Elections in the City of New York

* [1997] Cable News Network (CNN)
* [1834-1993] "The Encyclopedia of New York City", edited by Kenneth T. Jackson (Yale University Press and The New York Historical Society, New Haven, Connecticut, 1995, ISBN 0-500-05536-6 ), especially the article "Mayoralty" by Charles W. Brecher with tables compiled by James Bradley

* [1929-1973] "The New York Chronology" by James Trager (HarperCollins, 2003, ISBN 0-06-074062-0 ) More details and preview available at

* [1950-1953] "The World Almanac and Book of Facts", 1957, page 299
* [1909-1941] "The World Almanac and Book of Facts", 1943, page 412
* [1897-1925] "The World Almanac and Book of Facts", 1929 (1971 reprint by American Heritage and Workman Publishing, ISBN 0-07-071881-4), page 893

* [1867-1923 and later] "The New York Times" archives

ee also

*Mayor of New York City
*List of mayors of New York City
*History of New York City
*Government of New York City
*Politics of New York (State)
*Elections in New York (State)
*Tammany Hall
*American Labor Party
*Liberal Party of New York
*Conservative Party of New York
*Independence Party of New York
*Working Families Party

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