Mayoral election results: incumbents squeak by

Boston, New York, and Detroit reelected their mayors. But in some other cities, the mayoral election results mean that a runoff will take place.

By , Contributor

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    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks to supporters after his election win in New York Tuesday.
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This year’s off-cycle election was predicted to be tougher than usual for incumbent mayors across the country, largely because of the troubled economy.

So what were the mayoral election results?

Incumbents held their seats in major cities including Boston, New York, and Detroit – but their margins of victory were slimmer than usual.

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New York stays with Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg: 51 percent
William Thompson: 46 percent

Mr. Bloomberg was successful in his bid for a third term as the mayor of the Big Apple, but the contest was surprisingly close.

Bloomberg squeaked out a victory over Mr. Thompson, city comptroller, by only five percentage points.

“Some told me to sit this one out,” Thompson said in his concession speech. “This campaign was about defying conventional wisdom. This campaign was [about] never backing down in the face of a formidable challenge.”

Detroit returns Bing

Dave Bing: 58 percent
Tom Barrow: 42 percent

Mr. Bing, a businessman and former NBA great, held onto the seat he won in a special election in May, when he replaced former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who resigned fraught with legal problems. Bing won a decisive 16-point victory over Mr. Barrow, an accountant.

Boston grants Menino unprecedented fifth term

Thomas Menino: 57 percent
Michael Flaherty: 42 percent

It was Mayor Menino’s toughest election yet, but he defeated Mr. Flaherty, a city councilor at large, by 15 percentage points. In November 2005, Menino won his bid for a fourth term with 68 percent of the vote.

Atlanta is headed for a runoff

Mary Norwood: 46 percent
Kasim Reed: 36 percent
Lisa Borders: 15 percent

This was an open election because the current mayor, Shirley Franklin, was term-limited. None of the top three candidates received enough votes to avoid a runoff election. Ms. Norwood, a city councilor and the favorite heading into Election Day, received the largest share of the vote, with 46 percent. Next month her opponent will be state Sen. Mr. Reed, who received 36 percent of the vote Tuesday. (For more on the Atlanta race, click here.)

Houston is also headed for a runoff

Annise Parker: 31 percent
Gene Locke: 25 percent
Peter Brown: 23 percent

The mayor’s race in Houston won’t be decided until next month’s runoff election, as was expected even before Tuesday’s vote. What’s surprising is that Mr. Locke, a former city attorney – and not Mr. Brown, an architect – will be on the ballot, along with the top vote-getter, Ms. Parker.

Parker, the city controller and an openly gay candidate, was the favorite heading into Election Day. Brown, a largely self-financed candidate, was thought to be No. 2.

Houston had an open race because the current mayor, Bill White, could not run again due to term limits.

Seattle race is too close to call

Mike McGinn: 50.5 percent
Joe Mallahan: 49.5 percent

Seattle’s mayor, Greg Nickels, didn’t make it out of August’s primary. That left two first-time candidates – both Democrats, whose primary difference was how they felt about a major road-works project slated for Seattle’s downtown area. Mr. McGinn, an environmental attorney, is currently leading Mr. Mallahan, an executive at T-Mobile, by only one percentage point – just under a 1,000 votes. About 125,000 ballots remain to be counted. The race is expected to be called in the coming days.

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