2002 Dawns In New York City; Bloomberg Assumes Mayoralty; Recovery Work Continues At World Trade Centre; What Now For Giuliani?

As the body of another New York City firefighter was recovered from the ruins of the World Trade Centre, outgoing Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has sworn in his successor, Michael Bloomberg, as the city greeted New Year 2002 to the strains of God Bless America and New York, New York.

New York Mayor Michael BloombergWhat the New York Times has described as a “lamentable year”, 2001 and the horror it wrought on the citizens of the United States’ largest city, was finally over.

Bloomberg, the beneficiary of a personally financed $65 million campaign and an electorate that really wanted Giuliani to stay, will be Mayor for the next four years, a third term dominance of the Republican Party in one of the nation’s most Democratic regions.

Giuliani, often referred to now as “America’s Mayor”, becomes a private citizen after eight years exemplified by his hard-line approach to law and order, an aborted Senate bid, a battle with prostate cancer, a messy divorce, and the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks that destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Centre.

Speculation will now develop around Giuliani’s political ambitions, although few opportunities present themselves. New York Democratic Party Senator Hillary Clinton does not face the electorate again until 2006, although her senior colleague, Charles Schumer, faces election following his first term in 2004.

The New York Governorship is a possibility for Giuliani. The Republican incumbent, George Pataki may decide to retire after two terms in 2002, but this is no certainty. New York Governors are not subject to term limits legislation, so Pataki is able to run for a third term. Giuliani and Pataki have never been close and Giuliani once endorsed Mario Cuomo, the three-term Governor defeated by Pataki in 1994.

With George W. Bush likely to seek a second presidential term in 2004, the Senate option is Giuliani’s best possibility. He would cruise to victory in the Republican primary and would then face Schumer in the general election. A race for Governor against Pataki would involve a nasty primary battle.

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