Democrats Win in VA, NJ; Bloomberg Takes NY Mayor’s Race

Democratic candidate Mark Green conceded defeat early this morning after Bloomberg was declared the close race’s winner. With all precincts reporting, Bloomberg garnered 50 percent of the vote to Green’s 47 percent, the Associated Press reports.

“Tonight is not about Republicans or Democrats. It’s about New Yorkers,” Bloomberg told cheering supporters early this morning. “This is our victory, a victory for our vision and our faith in the future of the greatest city in the world.”

Green, the city’s elected public advocate and a longtime consumer activist, had held a solid lead in the polls, but lost ground after Bloomberg gained the backing of term-limited fellow Republican Giuliani, now widely popular in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks.

Bloomberg, owner of the financial news and information company that bears his name, spent some $50 million of his own money to run in the largely Democratic city. Much of his money went into a media blitz in the last two weeks of the campaign. Green’s campaign spent a total of nearly $12 million.

In Virginia, Democrat Mark Warner bested Republican Mark Earley, the state’s former attorney general.

Warner won the post being vacated by term-limited Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, head of the Republican National Committee. With nearly all precincts reporting, Warner captured 52 percent of the vote to Earley’s 47 percent.

A millionaire venture capitalist and former state Democratic chairman, Warner put $4.7 million of his own money into the race, amassing a $18.2 million campaign purse that broke state records. Warner previously waged a failed bid in 1996 to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. John Warner.

Mark Warner told supporters he was ready to take the reigns of Virginia’s government.

“This campaign has been the longest job interview of my life. But now the people of Virginia have spoken. They said they want a new approach for our commonwealth, and tonight I’m here to tell you I’m ready for the challenge,” he said.

In New Jersey, Democrat Jim McGreevey led the state’s gubernatorial race by a wide margin against Republican opponent Bret Schundler, the former mayor of Jersey City. With nearly all precincts reporting, McGreevey garnered 56 percent of the vote to Schundler’s 42 percent, according to the AP.

McGreevey, the mayor of Woodbridge, N.J., is the first Democrat to be elected the state’s governor in over a decade. He was his party’s nominee for governor in 1997 as well, but lost to Republican Christine Todd Whitman, who left the job earlier this year to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Acting Gov. Don DiFrancesco dropped out of the race early on and refused to endorse fellow Republican Schundler.

In a victory speech, McGreevey thanked his supporters.

“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,” he said.

Virginia and New Jersey were the only two states to hold gubernatorial elections Tuesday.