- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 7, 2001

NEW YORK Republican Michael R. Bloomberg won the race to succeed Rudolph W. Giuliani as mayor of this city, while in neighboring New Jersey, Democrat James E. McGreevey handily defeated Republican Bret D. Schundler to become the state's governor.
Shortly after midnight, Democrat Mark Green conceded the race in a speech to his supporters.
"We gave it our all. But it wasn't enough," he said.
With 49 percent of precincts officially reporting, Mr. Green actually had a slight lead, with 49 percent of the vote, over Mr. Bloomberg's 48 percent a difference of fewer than 4,000 votes.
But New York TV station WABC's projections, partially based on exit polling, said Mr. Bloomberg would get about 688,000 votes to Mr. Green's 655,000 votes a victory margin of 50 percent to 47 percent.
Mr. Bloomberg, a billionaire businessman, and Mr. Green, the city's public advocate, were a whisker apart in exit polling throughout most of the day.
With 77 percent of New Jersey precincts reporting, Mr. McGreevey had 57 percent of the votes, or 952,390. Mr. Schundler had 40 percent, or 365,182 votes.
"Tonight I have a message for all of you. This was your fight, this was your victory and the next four years belong to you," Mr. McGreevey told supporters.
As he conceded, Mr. Schundler criticized his opponent's attacks.
"The other side had millions and millions of dollars to say we want kids to take guns to football games," he said. "That's not what this party believes in and it's not what I believe in."
Democrats also won a majority in the New Jersey Assembly for the first time in a decade and gained five seats in the state Senate to force a 20-20 split.
On the other side of the Hudson River, the celebrations didn't start until the wee hours.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe was on hand at the Green campaign at the New York Sheraton in midtown Manhattan. Former President Bill Clinton also was reported to have joined Mr. Green in his suite as the returns came in. Many representatives from the city's labor unions, who worked feverishly to get out the vote, waited in the crowd.
Meanwhile, at the B.B. King Blues Club and Grill, Bloomberg supporters ate and drank heartily, but celebrating did not begin until the projections turned in their candidate's favor after midnight. Mr. Bloomberg remained in a nearby Times Square hotel watching the returns with his family.
Turnout in New York was moderate to heavy on a sun-filled autumn day in a city where Democrats outnumbered Republicans 5-to-1.
Such interest surprised even campaign officials who had been competing for media time and space with the World Trade Center attack, the anthrax alert and a surge of acclamation for Mr. Giuliani's handling of the crisis. Mr. Giuliani could not seek a third term under state term-limit laws.
The role of Mr. Giuliani may have made the difference in the race. The popular mayor spent the last day of the campaign stumping with the media mogul.
"He's the right person at the right time," said Mr. Giuliani.
After Mr. Giuliani endorsed him two weeks ago, the billionaire closed a 16-point gap in the polls between himself and Mr. Green.
White Catholics and centrist Jewish voters the so-called "Giuliani Democrats" appear to have gone over to Mr. Bloomberg in large numbers. Dr. Lee Miringoff of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion said development made the race to become the city's 108th mayor so tight.
After voting yesterday in his Upper East Side neighborhood, Mr. Green, the city's public advocate, continued to portray himself as an experienced politician who knew how the city worked and that his rival was a neophyte trying to buy the election.
At one stop yesterday, he said, "The contrast is so sharp, between a Democratic public advocate who's been in every neighborhood and a Republican billionaire who's out of touch with our neighborhoods, who hasn't one accomplishment in public life and whose slogan is 'Money talks.'"
All money does is get the message out, countered the Republican media mogul. What surprised him about the campaign, Mr. Bloomberg added, was the realization of how "professional politicians behave," specifically, "taking things out of context" and saying things they know not to be true, "even in a church."
Mr. Clinton and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, joined hands with Mr. Green, 56, in a rally on Monday.
"I've seen a lot of these negative attacks on him. I'm telling you he's a good man who will do a good job," Mr. Clinton told the crowd.
The candidates played hardball in their final TV commercials. An explosive Green ad dealt with a sexual-harassment lawsuit filed against Mr. Bloomberg by a female employee in 1997. The ad says that, according to court documents, when the woman informed the CEO that she was pregnant, he responded, "Kill it. Kill it."
Mr. Bloomberg responded: "Mark Green has no shame."
Voters in several other major cities across the nation picked new mayors yesterday, including Cincinnati, where incumbent Charlie Luken defeated challenger Courtis Fuller in a race between registered Democrats. Mr. Fuller, who is black, had criticized the white mayor's handling of friction between blacks and police that sparked rioting in April.
But Gabriel Render, 61, who voted for Mr. Luken, said, "This is not the time for on-the-job training."
With almost 99 percent of the vote counted, Mr. Luken led with 55.5 percent of the vote to Mr. Fuller's 44.5 percent.
"I am grateful to the voters for the vindication," Mr. Luken said last night.
In other notable mayoral races, Cleveland appeared likely to elect a woman as its leader for the first time, county commissioner and former legislator Jane Campbell. But in Minneapolis, the city's first black and female mayor, Sharon Sayles Belton, lost her bid for a third term to a political novice, R.T. Rybak.
Incumbent mayors Thomas Menino of Boston and Thomas Murphy of Pittsburgh won easily, but Miami voters ousted their mayor, Joe Carollo, who finished third in a 10-candidate race. Former Mayor Maurice Ferre and lawyer Manny Diaz will face each other in a runoff on Tuesday.
Voters in five cities Houston; Miami Beach, Fla; and Kalamazoo, Traverse City and Huntington Woods, Mich. decided homosexual rights measures some of them proposed by conservatives hoping to thwart or roll back pro-homosexual ordinances.
In Washington state, one ballot initiative would limit property-tax increases to 1 percent a year, unless voters approved a larger levy. Another measure would raise tobacco taxes to the highest level in the country, boosting the price of a pack of cigarettes to $5.
This article was based in part on wire service reports.


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