The Race for Mayor: The Winners and Losers

That sure was close, wasn't it? Going into the election, pollsters and pundits were predicting a double-digit win for Michael Bloomberg. But for all the money he spent ($157.27 per vote, compared to Thompson's $13.12), flashy endorsements he lined up, political rivals he forced into submission—and even with an opponent like Thompson who never quite got his act together—Bloomberg only managed to win by five percentage points. Yesterday's results will have implications for years to come, of course. We've rounded up a few of the early winners and losers below.

↓ Michael Bloomberg
Yea, sure, he got what he wanted and he'll get to be mayor for the next four years. But with his critics emboldened and plenty of messy political battles ahead, his third term probably won't be as much fun as his first two. And while that might not matter if Bloomberg were a career politician, it's not as if he really needed any of this stress, did he? As the mayor headed home to his massive townhouse last night in his big, black SUV, he had to be wondering to himself if he wouldn't have been better off if he'd exited the political stage gracefully. He'd get to spend the next four years jetting back and forth to Bermuda and popping by the office of his foundation every once in a while to sign a couple of checks. Now he just looks like a jerk and he still has a crapload of work on his plate.

↑ Bill Thompson
Thompson was expected to lose. But he got a lot closer than anyone expected and he finished things off with a surprisingly strong concession speech. (Too bad he couldn't perform like that during the campaign, huh?) He goes down with honor for facing unbeatable odds and still coming within five percentage points. And he'll land on his feet. There's already talk that Bloomberg may give him a job in his new administration in the spirit of reconciliation (much the same way Hillary Clinton was tapped by President Obama to be his Secretary of State). And if that doesn't pan out, there's always a comfy gig in academia waiting for him whenever he wants it. Godspeed, Bill.

↓ Anthony Weiner
We're going to venture to guess that Weiner is the single saddest man in New York City today. If he'd shown a little more backbone earlier this year and had decided to throw his hat into the ring, he'd be suffering a hangover right now from having guzzled too much champagne last night. Sure, he can try again next time. But who knows what will happen between now and then. And four years—or 1,460 days—is a long time to wait.

↓ The New York Democratic Establishment
The Democratic party machine didn't do nearly as much as it could have to back Thompson. Now it realizes that if it had motivated a bit, Thompson could have very well won yesterday. Christine Quinn had been hoping that staying on the sidelines would position her nicely to run the next time around. Now she had less of a chance than ever.

↔ Howard Wolfson, Bradley Tusk
The masterminds of Bloomberg's campaign did what they set out to do: They won the election for the mayor. But despite all their crazy planning and all of Bloomberg's money, they still only walked away with a razor-thin victory. The extraordinary lengths they went to in order to guarantee a Bloomberg victory—and all the money they spent on the campaign in the middle of a economic downturn—only left voters with a bad taste in their mouths.

The average voter
Will your life really change all that much now that Bloomberg's been reelected and Thompson has lost? Probably not. But we all win now that the campaign is over. We will no longer have to see a Bloomberg commercial on TV every five minutes, or have a flyer shoved into our hands every time we leave our apartments, or have a computer call our homes during dinner. And for that we should all be grateful.

— Jon Rosen