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Bloomberg Without Limits

The messy political fallout of the mayor’s hankering for a third term.

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Whether or not Mayor Bloomberg is actually in favor of eliminating the city’s term limits, the fact that the idea is in play has all eyes back on him. Will he run again? What would that mean? “It’s definitely a political reality right now,” says one City Council member. “There’s too much for too many people to gain if the limits are extended.” Namely, their jobs. But not everyone wins, and not everyone loses. Here’s our scorecard of jostling city Dems.



CHRISTINE QUINN
While she’s raised over $3 million to run for mayor, the City Council speaker has been tarred by allegations that her office stashed away millions from the budget to use as a political piggy bank (not to mention an ongoing federal investigation into the matter). By extending term limits, she buys time to improve her brand to run for mayor in 2013, when she’ll be only 47 and likely still close to Bloomberg.
Except that: She also extends the careers of many of her colleagues, who may choose to oust her in a coup.
Overall: Winner, maybe.



SCOTT STRINGER
The Manhattan borough president didn’t have an obvious next step. The change would allow him to survey the landscape and still take home a paycheck until a clear opening arrives. Depending on what happens with the national elections this fall, he might also be able to position himself to take over Jerry Nadler’s congressional seat.
Except that: Maybe he’ll still have nothing to run for.
Overall: Draw.



ANTHONY WEINER
The fiery congressman has outraised his Democratic mayoral rivals Quinn and Thompson—over $5 million—giving him the cash (he has the temperament) to challenge Bloomberg if he gets the nomination. Even if he loses, he’d get tons of press and keep his congressional seat.
Except that: After Bloomberg spends a hundred million or so to beat him, will anyone be clamoring for a Weiner encore? The city is arguably post-partisan, and three mayoral attempts could make him seem used up.
Overall: Winner, mostly.



BILL THOMPSON
The city comptroller is against the City Council extending term limits, and he wants to be mayor in 2009.
Except that: He has raised nearly $5 million to run for mayor, and many believe he’s too cautious a pol to gamble it all in a run against Bloomberg. If term limits are extended, he’ll have to wait out Bloomberg’s third term and see how the landscape looks in 2013, which may be too late.
Overall: Loser, possibly.



ERIC GIOIA
The ambitious councilman from Long Island City has raised over $2 million to pay for his next move: a bid for public advocate. Eliminating term limits could shutter his campaign for now.
Except that: It could also give him more time to develop a citywide identity and fill out his résumé by 2013. He also gets to keep all that money and not spend it in a primary with Adam Clayton Powell, Norman Siegel, or Betsy Gotbaum.
Overall: Winner, mostly.



MIKE GIANARIS
The assemblyman from Queens has been desperately looking for a bigger office.
Except that: Term limits offer him a way to sneak into the City Council (replacing Peter Vallone Jr.), mount a race for a high-ranking post like speaker (which insiders say he is already lobbying for), and then focus on the mayor’s race in 2013. But if term limits are extended, Vallone isn’t going anywhere. And neither is Gianaris, except back to Albany.
Overall: Loser, certainly.

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