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Bloomberg’s $100-million campaign lands a victory

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has won a third term as mayor of New York. However he’s courted controversy by changing term limits, which used to allow someone to be mayor only twice.

He has spent more than $100 million in the most expensive self-financed election campaign in history.

Many are concerned the New York City electoral system is setting a dangerous precedent throughout the country, with bailouts, stimulus plans and election laws re-written, and decisions made by leaders, some argue, at the expense of the people.

Martin Lewis has worked through five New York City elections. This is the first to take place under what he calls distorted democracy.

“No matter how good you are. You had eight years. The public voted no. We don’t want three terms. There’s always some brighter person,” Lewis says.

Many voters used to be supporters of Bloomberg, but voted against the billionaire media mogul largely because of his support to extend term limits.

Republican Nancy Di Costanzo says she crossed party lines, picking principal over politics.

“I don’t believe it’s for the benefit of the people. I think it’s to benefit him. When he came in what did he have? Four billion? Now he has like 20? That’s a big difference in eight years. Eight years is enough,” she says.

There was a time when Bloomberg thought the same.

“Deliberately saying to the public we don’t care what you think is, I would use the word, disgraceful,” he has said before.

Opponents accuse the 67-year-old media tycoon of denying the will of the people who voted twice to uphold term limits. For all the growing backlash against Bloomberg, voter turnout on Tuesday trickled in. Many, like Carmichael Monaco, say the public is disenchanted with democracy becoming hypocrisy.

“A lot of people feel like it’s not going to change anything. So why bother? It’s certainly not going to change the power structure. Just voting for a different candidate, it’s not going to make a big difference,” Monaco says.

Last year’s historic presidential election ignited nationwide enthusiasm over voting and change. Not even an endorsement from Barack Obama caused breakthroughs for Democratic Candidate Bill Thompson. As comptroller, he took charge of city finance.