* Bloomberg wins narrow re-election
* Margin far slimmer than anticipated
(Adds Bloomberg quotes, details)
By Ellen Wulfhorst
NEW YORK, Nov 4 New York Mayor Michael
Bloomberg, who engineered a change in the city's term-limits
law so he could run again and set a campaign financing record,
narrowly won a third term on Tuesday, local media declared.
Bloomberg, who ran as an independent, defeated City
Comptroller Bill Thompson, a Democrat, according to The New
York Times, the Daily News and NY1 television.
With 99 percent of the votes counted, Bloomberg was ahead
51 to 46 percent.
His margin was far smaller than expected, given polls that
showed him as recently as Monday with a double-digit lead and
expectations of a large, lopsided victory.
Bloomberg spent more of his own money in pursuit of public
office than any other individual in U.S. history, and he vastly
outspent his challenger, laying out $13 for every $1 spent by
Described by Forbes magazine as the richest man in New
York, with a $16 billion fortune, he has spent almost $90
million on his re-election bid and is on track to spend as much
as $140 million overall. Thompson spent $7 million.
Bloomberg pledged in a speech to supporters to cut crime
further, reduce the city's carbon emissions, expand mass
transit, increase city parkland, improve schools, add
affordable housing and jobs and diversify the local economy.
"Conventional wisdom says that historically third terms
haven't been too successful, but we've spent the past eight
years defying conventional wisdom," he said, citing the city's
economic resilience following the Sept. 11 attacks and its
success at lowering crime rates.
"We've proven the experts wrong again and again and again,"
Bloomberg said. "We're going to make the next four years the
Official numbers were not yet calculated, but turnout
appeared low. Some 4.2 million New Yorkers are registered
Noting Bloomberg's unexpectedly slim margin of victory,
some political observers said New York voters may have been
soured by the mayor's success in getting the city's term-limits
law amended on his behalf.
Others said Bloomberg supporters may have been lulled by
his strong polling numbers and did not turn out in large
numbers at the polls.
In arguing that he should be allowed to run for a third
term, which the city council allowed by amending the law,
Bloomberg said his financial acumen was needed to guide New
York through hard economic times.
A former partner at Salomon Brothers, he founded Bloomberg
LP, a news and financial information company that competes with
(Additional reporting by Edith Honan; editing by Anthony