NEW YORK, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- In the political upset of the year, the billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg was elected early Wednesday to what some have called the second toughest job in American politics, mayor of New York.
A half hour after his opponent, Democrat Mark Green, conceded defeat, Bloomberg greeted supporters: "Tonight is about New Yorkers. We suffered a terrible tragedy on Sept. 11 and we are just not going to let the terrorists beat us."
"We are going to be the winners out of all of this. New York is alive and well and open for business," he said, with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani at his right side.
Bloomberg spent about $50 million of his fortune in the campaign that was interrupted by the Sept. 11 attack on the city's World Trade Center towers.
Green, the city's veteran public advocate, had held a commanding lead up until the last week of the race. In Tuesday's vote he had held a slim lead with 50 percent of the vote counted and although the count remained split at 49 percent each, he saw the lead slip and Bloomberg forge ahead.
In his concession at 12:29 a.m. Green told supporters: "We gave our all. We really did. But it wasn't enough."
Bloomberg made a dramatic charge for the finish line in the last few weeks, slicing away at Green's 16-point lead in a city that is 5-to-1 Democratic registration.
Repeatedly pledging a commitment to "diversity and inclusiveness," Bloomberg thanked many political figures who had given him support during the campaign include New York's GOP Gov. George Pataki, Giuliani, as well as former New York Mayor Ed Koch and former N.Y. Gov. Hugh Carey, both Democrats.
Bloomberg got a major boost when he picked up the endorsement of Giuliani, who has seen his approval ratings soar to 90 percent since Sept. 11 and has been dubbed "America's Mayor" for how he handled the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks.
Green noted that Bloomberg will face the challenge of rebuilding the city from the devastation of the attacks and he urged supporters to rally behind the new mayor.
Bloomberg will face cutting the city budget for several years by billions because of the loss of tax revenue from the business losses in Lower Manhattan and the downturn in tourism. A $3 billion deficit is forecast for next year and more than 100,000 jobs are expected to be lost.
The city's unions, especially the police and firefighters, want raises and there is a shortage of police recruits and teachers.
In 1981, Michael R. Bloomberg left Salomon Brothers and using a $10 million severance package he founded an information network that permitted instantaneous access to real-time financial data. BLOOMBERG PROFESSIONAL provides investment information. To that he added a financial news service, radio and television stations, all bearing the Bloomberg name.
Bloomberg L.P., is an information services, news, and media company that serves central banks, investment institutions, commercial banks, government offices and agencies, corporations, and news organizations in 126 countries around the world. Headquartered in New York, the company employs more than 7,600 people in 108 offices worldwide.
He was born in Medford, Mass., studied engineering at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, then attended the Harvard Business School. He's divorced and has two daughters. Forbes magazine estimated his fortune at $4 billion and Forbes ranks him as the 42nd wealthiest man in America. Bloomberg was a lifelong Democrat but changed parties to run for mayor.
Green was elected twice as the city's public advocate and served as consumer affairs commissioner under Democratic Mayor David Dinkins. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate.
He's written 15 books and worked as a consumer advocate for Ralph Nader.
In other New York races Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll, a Democrat, who was named interim mayor in July after the incumbent Republican Roy Bernardi took a position in the Bush administration easily won a four-year term of his own.
Democrats William Johnson in Rochester and Gerald Jennings in Albany easily won third terms as did Democratic incumbent Mayor Anthony Masiello of Buffalo who ran for a third term as the only candidate on the Democratic, Republican, Conservative and Independence lines.
Buffalo faces a deficit of about $100 million and is currently laying off more than 500 teachers, city workers, police and firefighters. The city may be taken over by a state-dominated financial control board.
Statewide, voters approved gender-neutral language for the 224-year-old New York State Constitution by 53 percent to 47 percent with 65 percent of precincts reporting. The amendment will change 170 references from he to he/she, him to him/her and terms such as fireman and assemblyman to firefighter and assembly member.
Some argued the changes were meaningless because while the lieutenant governor is referred to in the constitution as a "he" Lt. Gov. Mary Donahue is a woman. However, others argued the 21st century is time to install gender-neutral terms and allow both sexes to be recognized in the state constitution.
The constitutional amendment has been approved by two terms of the state Legislature and only needs the voter's approval to have the document changed. The cost of the changes to the state will be $1,600 for the printing changes for the 5,000 copies required by law to be made in 200
(With reporting by Alex Cukan in Albany, N.Y., and Pete Roff and Harold Martin in Washington)