Monday, November 30, 2009

Bloomberg Spent $102 Million to Win 3rd Term by Michael Barbaro - City Room Blog -

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To eke out a narrow re-election victory over the city’s understated comptroller, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg spent $102 million of his own money, or about $183 per vote, according to data released on Friday, making his bid for a third term the most expensive campaign in municipal history.

Mr. Bloomberg, the wealthiest man in New York City, shattered his own previous records: he poured $85 million into his campaign in 2005, and $74 million on his first bid for office in 2001.

And the $102 million tab is likely to rise: the mayor has not yet doled out his storied bonuses to campaign workers, which can top $100,000 a person. That spending will not be reported until after his inauguration.

He has now officially spent more of his own money in the pursuit of public office than any other individual in United States history.

His lavish campaign, which leased a 40,000-square-foot space for headquarters in Midtown and paid a D.J. to play music as volunteers called voters, was widely expected to crush his Democratic opponent, William C. Thompson Jr., the city’s chief financial officer.

But his successful drive to overturn the city’s term limits law, coupled with a sputtering economy, turned off thousands of voters, even though most gave him high marks as a manager.

On Election Day, Mr. Bloomberg won by fewer than 5 percent points, at a cost of roughly $20 million for each point.

Data released on Friday showed that, from Oct. 22 to Nov. 26, his campaign spent $18.6 million, much of it on last-minute television and radio advertising.

After the mayor’s campaign team discovered that a large block of undecided voters in the city either favored Mr. Thompson or planned to stay home on Election Day, the campaign scrambled.

A few hours before polls closed on Nov. 3, the campaign issued a flurry of telephone calls to registered voters, with recordings in which Mr. Bloomberg requested that New Yorkers pull the lever for him.