2001 New York City mayoral election

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2001 New York City mayoral election

← 1997 November 6, 2001 2005 →
Nominee Michael Bloomberg Mark Green
Party Republican Democratic
Alliance Independence Working Families
Popular vote 744,757 709,268
Percentage 50.3% 47.9%

Borough results
Bloomberg:      50–60%      70–80%
Green:      50–60%

Mayor before election

Rudy Giuliani

Elected Mayor

Michael Bloomberg

The New York City mayoral election of 2001 was held on November 6, 2001.

Incumbent Republican mayor Rudy Giuliani could not run again due to term limits. As Democrats outnumbered Republicans by a five-to-one margin in the city, it was widely believed that a Democrat would succeed him in City Hall. Businessman Michael Bloomberg, a lifelong Democrat, changed his party affiliation and ran as a Republican. Mark Green narrowly defeated Fernando Ferrer in the Democratic primary,[nb 1] surviving a negative contest that divided the party and consumed the vast majority of the Green campaign's financial resources. After a campaign that was largely overshadowed by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Bloomberg won the general election with 50.3% of the vote to Green's 47.9%.


The primaries originally began on September 11. However, the September 11 attacks caused the primary to be postponed until September 25 (votes cast on September 11 were not counted), and the run-off occurred on October 11.[1][2][3]

Republican primary[edit]



2001 Republican mayoral primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Michael Bloomberg 48,055 72.3%
Republican Herman Badillo 18,476 27.7%
Total votes 66,531 100.00%

By borough[edit]

Republican primary, September 25, 2001[nb 1]
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

Democratic primary[edit]




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."[4] 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,"[5] an ironic twist for someone who had been so popular in that community for so long.)

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.[citation needed]


Results by borough
     Green 20–30%
     Green 30–40%
     Green 40–50%
     Ferrer 60–70%
     Vallone 40–50%
Democratic primary, September 25, 2001[nb 1]
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 Vallone Sr. 25,296 18,268 51,210 48,576 11,842 155,192
Alan 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.


Democratic primary runoff, October 11, 2001
Manhattan The Bronx Brooklyn Queens Staten Island Total
Mark Green 131,438 38,256 120,781 94,342 18,183 403,000 51.1%
Fernando Ferrer 86,579 106,086 109,831 77,330 7,193 387,019 48.9%

General election[edit]



Rudy Giuliani, who was riding high approval ratings following the 9/11 attacks, publicly endorsed Bloomberg.[6]

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).[7][8] 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."[9]

Green posed on the steps of City Hall with Hasidic Jewish leaders and issued a statement saying that "leaders from the Satmar Congregations of New York City, the largest of the three major Hasidic groups in the city with some 100,000 followers" supported his mayoral campaign. But many of the Satmars at that photo op led an upstate Satmar community ineligible to vote in New York City, and were also "at odds with the Satmar establishment" based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, whose leaders were in Europe at the time and unaware that Green had claimed their endorsements.[10]

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 young men 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.


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 to prevail. Under New York's electoral fusion rules, candidates were allowed to run representing multiple parties.

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


  1. ^ a b c The primary began on September 11, but was halted due to the September 11 attacks. The official results here are for the rescheduled primary held two weeks later.


  1. ^ Nagourney, Adam (September 14, 2001). "AFTER THE ATTACKS: THE ELECTION; Primary Rescheduled for Sept. 25, With Runoff, if Necessary, Set for Oct. 11". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Board of Elections in the City of New York - Elections Results". Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  3. ^ Nagourney, Adam (October 12, 2001). "Green Defeats Ferrer in N.Y. Mayor Runoff". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "WCBS NEWSRADIO 880 - Mark Green Cleared of Wrongdoing". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved October 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Village voice > news > Mark Green, You Can't Hide by Peter Noel". Archived from the original on February 27, 2008. Retrieved October 31, 2008.
  6. ^ 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."
  7. ^ "Costly Campaigns". ABC News. November 8, 2005. Archived from the original on March 4, 2020.
  8. ^ "Got Milk? Campaign". April 21, 2008.
  9. ^ " New York's difficult year", The Economist, September 12, 2002. Accessed December 31, 2007.
  10. ^ Barry, Dan (July 27, 2001). "Posing With Satmars, Green Steps Into a Sectarian Thicket". The New York Times. New York, NY. Retrieved February 4, 2020.

See also[edit]