Michael Bloomberg has won a third term as mayor of New York but with a much reduced majority, even after spending tens of millions of dollars on his campaign.
The former Wall Street trader and founder of the financial information company that bears his name had to make do with a five-point margin over Bill Thomson, his Democratic rival, after winning a second term in 2005 with a 20-point win.
The race was characterised by colossal campaign spending by the mayor, the city’s richest man, who used about $90m (€61m, £54m) on advertising and a sophisticated get-out-the-vote machine.
Mr Bloomberg, a lifelong Democrat until he switched to the Republicans to run for mayor in 2001, campaigned as an independent with Republican and Independence party backing.
The Democratic campaign sought to turn the election into a referendum on Wall Street by targeting Mr Bloomberg as a candidate of the rich aloof from the mounting economic worries of most New Yorkers.
In his third term he will face a $5bn deficit that is certain to involve further cuts in education and other public services at a time of mounting job losses.
The narrow win partly vindicated Mr Thomson’s campaign. He receivedsupport from disaffected Bloomberg supporters by arguing the mayor was stealing a third term by changing rules that allowed only two four-year terms.