NYC Mayors Who Failed To Survive Their Primaries

Despite press accounts detailing legions of disappointed and angry voters, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is hardly in any danger of losing today’s (Sept. 12) Democratic primary for a second term.  In fact, he’s likely to defeat a field of challengers, led by Sal Albanese (2013 primary effort: 0.9% of the vote), in a landslide.

Until 2013, Democrats had lost five mayoral elections in a row , two to Rudy Giuliani and three to Michael Bloomberg.  De Blasio’s election four years ago returned the party to its once comfortable position, in a city where Ds outnumber Rs by six-to-one.

Historically, there has been more volatility in primaries.  Starting in 1953, four NYC mayors have been defeated in the primary, whereas only one incumbent was defeated in the general election; that was David Dinkins (D), who lost to Giuliani (R) in 1989.

Here are the four defeats of incumbents in the primary in the past 65 years:

1953:  Mayor Vincent Impellitteri lost the Democratic primary to Manhattan Borough President Robert Wagner Jr.

1969:  Mayor John Lindsay lost the Republican primary to state Sen. John Marchi; Lindsay nonetheless was re-elected in November running as an independent.

1977:  Mayor Abraham Beame finished third in the Democratic primary, behind Rep. Edward Koch and Secretary of State Mario Cuomo; Koch went on to win the election.

1989:  Mayor Koch lost the Democratic primary to Manhattan Borough President David Dinkins.

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