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Billionaire Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg stormed to a second term with a landslide victory over Democrat Fernando Ferrer, the culmination of a campaign that will go down as the most expensive mayoral re-election in history.
The heavy spending paid off as Bloomberg flattened Ferrer by a 20 percentage-point margin, the largest-ever victory for a Republican over a Democrat in a New York mayoral race. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Bloomberg had 723,635 votes, or 59 percent, compared with Ferrer's 477,903 votes, or 39 percent.
"All I wanted, and you gave it to me, was four more years," Bloomberg told a packed house at his victory celebration. "Thank you for letting me realize my greatest dreams in the greatest of all cities."
Ferrer gathered his supporters at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, where his grandmother once earned a living working in the kitchen. He often mentioned her and his rise from a poor neighborhood as an example of the "two New Yorks" he said he would unite and represent if elected, a message that never caught on with voters.
"It was a fight worth getting into," Ferrer told a cheering crowd after conceding his loss. "Though of course I ran to win, I knew I could lose, so I ran first and foremost to raise a voice for those without one."
Bloomberg, a former Democrat who was elected four years ago as fires still flared at the World Trade Center site, tapped his $5 billion (â‚¬4.26 billion) fortune to bankroll his campaign and was on pace to equal his spending record of $74 million (â‚¬63 million) from the 2001 race. He outspent Ferrer about 10-to-1.
The pile of money paid for a blizzard of advertising and an army of staffers and advisers who orchestrated a massive get-out-the-vote machine and a campaign that was run like a business and appeared to undercut Ferrer at every turn.
It was Ferrer's third run for mayor in overwhelmingly Democratic New York, and the former Bronx borough president would have been the city's first Latino mayor if elected.