Bad night for billionaires
Republicans can claim shouting rights in Virginia and New Jersey, and the Democrats have picked up that furiously contested House seat in northern New York state (which gives the Democrats 49 House members and the Republicans two in America’s northeast corner -- New England and New York). But there can be no joy on Wall Street. The two aging financial whiz kids on tonight’s ballots -- former Goldman Sachs CEO Jon Corzine and Bloomberg’s Michael Bloomberg -- seriously underperformed.
Corzine was unseated in his bid for re-election as New Jersey’s governor by Republican Chris Christie. Across the river in New York, Bloomberg eked out a much- closer-than-anyone-expected 51 percent to 46 percent victory over city Comptroller William Thompson, whom he outspent by no less than 14-to-1, to win a third term as mayor.
Both Corzine and Bloomberg have always been self-funding candidates, with Corzine setting records for most money spent on a state gubernatorial election and Bloomberg setting records for most money spent on any sub-national contest on planet earth. Writing in Tuesday’s New York Times, Joyce Purnick noted that Bloomberg’s expenditures in this year’s mayoral contest already surpassed the $85 million he spent on his re-election effort four years ago, and could reach $100 million when all the spending is tallied. By the middle of last month, the total that Bloomberg had spent on his three mayoral runs was a tidy $245 million.
Bloomberg’s underperformance looks like a clear case of voter resentment of hizzzoner’s hubris. The guy runs the city well, most New Yorkers seem to believe, but he also got the city council to scrap the city’s term-limits law this time around so he could run again. The richest guy in town -- and New York’s got a lot of rich guys -- gets the law changed just so he can keep the job? In a world nearly undone by the arrogance of Wall Street, Bloomberg displayed just enough of that arrogance to threaten his re-election. Unlike his fellow Wall Street gazillionaires, however, and more than Corzine over in Jersey, he had a record he could defend, which is what -- narrowly -- saved him.
Does the Bloomberg-Corzine bust augur troubles ahead for such mega-rich 2010 candidates as Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO who is seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination in California? Could be, though eBay is a company that doesn’t shlep the frightful baggage of Wall Street around with it. Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is also contemplating a senatorial run next year against California’s Barbara Boxer -- and though Fiorina’s tenure at H-P was anything but successful, she still left with the customary fortune that departing CEO’s mysteriously acquire.
Will 2010 turn out to be as deflating for CEO candidates as 2009 did? Stay tuned.
Posted by: Observer21 | November 4, 2009 2:12 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: gannon_dick | November 4, 2009 2:51 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: foxblues | November 4, 2009 6:02 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: LWise14193 | November 4, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: whistling | November 4, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.