As head of the executive branch of the city's government, the Mayor manages all of the city's services and oversees most of its public agencies. The Mayor appoints many influential city officials, like the Schools Chancellor, Police Commissioner and deputy mayor. New York City also operates the largest municipal budget in the United States, with roughly $70 billion to be spent on a dizzying array of items from city pension contributions to the NYPD.

Until the Bloomberg administration, mayors were limited to two, four-year terms in office. In 2008, the City Council voted to extend term limits to three, four-year terms, which gave Bloomberg another turn in City Hall. In 2010, New Yorkers finally had the chance to weigh in on the issue, and voted overwhelmingly to return to the two-term limit.

With the power to literally reshape the City, the Mayor's reach extends into many facets of our government and in our life. Bloomberg's Public Health Initiatives were sometimes unpopular, as were his controversial law enforcement tactics but he also gave us some important steps forward in alternative transportation and smoke-free bars and restaurants.

2013 Democratic Mayoral Candidates

  • Sal Albanese: New York City public school teacher for 11 years then represented Brooklyn's 43rd District as a City Council member from 1983 until 1998.

  • Bill de Blasio: Represented Brooklyn's 39th District in the City Council from 2002 until 2009 when he was elected Public Advocate.

  • John Liu: Represented Queens 20th District in the City Council from 2002 until 2010 when he was elected Comptroller.

  • Erick Salgado: Native New Yorker and pastor who has established several ministries throughout New York City.

  • Christine Quinn: Long Island native elected to City Council in 1999 to represent Manhattan's 3rd District; elected Speaker in 2006.

  • Bill Thompson: Native New Yorker who served as Comptroller from 2002 until 2009.

  • Anthony Weiner: Native New Yorker who served on the City Council representing the 48th District from 1992 to 1998; elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1999 representing New York's 9th District until he resigned in 2011.
  • We asked all candidates for Mayor to answer a questionnaire for their positions on issues facing the borough, as well as some personal information relevant to the job. None of the Republican candidates agreed to participate.

    Mouse-over icons for quotes from the candidates and more details about the questions.

    Do you rent?Do you have a pet?Do you bike?Do your kids attend public school?Do you ride public transportation?Victim of a crime?

    Sal Albanese
    Former City Councilmember

    Bill de Blasio
    Public Advocate

    John Liu

    Erick Salgado

    Christine Quinn
    City Council Speaker

    Bill Thompson
    Former Comptroller

    Anthony Weiner
    Former Congressman

    What specific measures should the City take to prevent widespread destruction from Sandy- level storms?

    Albanese: "I will implement a 100-year infrastructure plan, coordinated by a Deputy Mayor for Infrastructure who will work with communities and coordinate agencies in a creative rebuilding process."

    de Blasio: "The Special Initiative on Rebuilding and Resiliency laid out a comprehensive vision for New York City's preparedness—I am committed to implementing these recommendations.

    Liu: "The City needs to ensure that the infrastructure is designed to address Sandy level storms and codes and other standards are updated to address these types of storms."

    Salgado: "Zoning regulations must be amended to take into consideration the appropriate safety measures required to provide structures in flood zones with as much protection as possible. We must encourage the private sector, when building along our shores, to construct structures that can withstand future super storms by offering developers tax incentives on the condition that they also make 30% of their units affordable housing for Sandy victims."

    Quinn: "My plan includes improvements to our gasoline distribution network, and our power, transit, and sewer systems. At my request, the NYC Building Resiliency Task Force has convened emergency sessions to look at possible changes to our building code. And I’m working with Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Schumer to conduct studies that will determine what defenses, such as storm surge barriers, the City should construct."

    Thompson: "To start, we need a dedicated Deputy Mayor for Infrastructure who will help bring clarity to the various infrastructure issues in New York City. A dedicated office that can bring together the best minds in the business will provide a great starting point to building a safer, strong City."

    Weiner: "Preventative measure like groins and jetties should be built to keep the sand in place and the tide at bay. We need to restore our dunes and preserve our marshland."

    How would you modify the Bloomberg administration's waterfront development policy?

    Albanese: "Waterfront development is one of the few areas where I applaud the Mayor’s work. He has helped reconnect New Yorkers to our waterways after decades of neglect."

    de Blasio: "I will provide more access to the waterfront and waterfront activities…I will also focus on restoring out waterways, and invest in soft infrastructure to protect the health of our river and coastal ecosystems."

    Liu: "My Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning plan would apply to waterfront property development. I see great value in public projects subsidized by private investments which should require that any new construction offer affordable housing for residents with low to moderate incomes."

    Salgado: "The potential for another super storm is unfortunately all too real; therefore my shore development and redevelopment policies would all require consideration of meeting the demands of another serious storm. A formula will have to be created to figure in the needed protections, costs, practicality of the remediation and impact on the surroundings, before any further work or permits for work move forward."

    Quinn: "I will work to find a balance between residential, commercial, industrial, and recreational uses…[and]…make sure that whatever we build must be protected from future natural disasters and climate change."

    Weiner: "The conversation should not be about the how many big waterfront buildings are being built in the city. In my administration, we’ll have a swift change of focus."

    How can the city reduce the number of teachers in "rubber rooms"?

    Albanese: "Some people simply are not cut out for the job, but our demonization of and lack of support for teachers as a whole has allowed many of these under qualified individuals to remain in the system long after they should have left."

    de Blasio: "We need a speedier hearing process so that teachers are not languishing in rubber rooms or in temporary administrative positions."

    Liu: "The teachers contract creates a disciplinary system that the City negotiated with the teachers.  The City needs to bring and try its accusations against teachers so that the disciplinary issues are resolved promptly."

    Salgado: "I would immediately instruct my Chancellor to expedite the hearing process so that bad teachers may, more expeditiously, be removed from the system entirely."

    Quinn: "We need to speed up hearings and disciplinary decisions for teachers who have been assigned to 'rubber rooms.'"

    Weiner: "We need to reexamine the contracts and use these funds to pay great teachers more for taking tough assignments."

    How would you change the present administration's Charter School policies?

    Albanese "I will create the city’s first public pediatric wellness centers, which would provide parents in low-income communities the support of a multi-disciplinary team of professionals. These centers would help children from six weeks to 4 years old develop the learning skills necessary to enter pre-K programs and Kindergarten ready to learn."

    de Blasio "My administration will ensure we are learning from both traditional and charter schools, and will share best practices among all public schools."

    Liu: "While some charter schools such as community-grown schools run by community based organizations have worked well; corporate-type charter schools have created more disruption than educational value.  I will end the practice of allowing charter schools to co-locate rent-free."

    Salgado: "I understand the importance of providing parents/guardians with the option of charter schools and will work to increase the number permitted in the City. However, I will not allow a charter school to be located in any school without the agreement of the public school's parents/guardians."

    Quinn: "I’ve proposed a system-wide success study that would identify best practices among all our best schools so we can apply those techniques to other schools that serve similar populations."

    Weiner: "As mayor, I would seek to mediate the conflict among parents, teachers, and charter school operators. I support adding more charter schools where space is available."

    Albanesede BlasioLiuSalgadoQuinnThompsonWeiner
    Change Stop and Frisk?
    Inspector General?
    Free Speech Zones?
    More $ for Accident Investigation Squad?
    Drink on your own stoop?
    Drink in parks?
    Change bike lanes?
    Livery cab street hails in outer boroughs?
    Congestion pricing?
    Outdoor decks on SI ferry?
    Platform gates on subways?
    Support reduction of salt?
    Soda ban?
    Ban smoking in parks?
    Restaurant letter grades?
    Styrofoam ban?
    Rebuild in flood-prone areas?
    Limit chain stores?
    NYCHA development?
    Tax breaks for corporations?
    Tax breaks for movies?
    Public-private parks?
    Schools distributing morning after pills?
    Term limits?

    Christine Quinn amassed $2 million more than any other candidate to date, clocking in at $7,822,260.82 in funds. Her next closest financial competitor is Anthony Weiner, whose war chest amounts to $5,694,896.63, followed by Bill de Blasio and Bill Thompson, who are more or less neck and neck with $4,455,338.19 and $4,519,903.92 respectively. John Liu isn't far behind with $3,484,127.76 raised. Neither Erick Salgado nor Sal Albanese cracked the one million mark, with just $278,139.95 and $180,312.35 respectively.

    When it comes to the polls, as of today de Blasio maintains a solid lead but not enough to avoid an automatic runoff. The latest Marist poll has Quinn and Thompson tied at 20%, with Anthony Weiner at 7%, John Liu at 5%, and Sal Albanese and Erick Salgado both with 1%.

    Quinn swept most of the major NYC news outlets, winning endorsements from the Times, Post and Daily News. She also got nods from NOW, Queens Beep Helen Marshall and a number of celebrities including Lena Dunham. Thompson has Newsday, the Observer and El Diario on his side, as well as the United Federation of Teachers. de Blasio got a bump from former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, multiple City Council members and celebs like Alec Baldwin and fellow Park Sloper Steve Buscemi. Telemundo supports Erick Salgado while Jimmy "The Rent Is Too Damn High" McMillan stands with Anthony Weiner.

    To read the candidates' full responses to our questionnaire, click below:

    Election charts designed by Aaron Marks


  • The Gothamist Guide to the Manhattan Borough President Race

  • The Gothamist Guide to the Queens Borough President Race

  • The Gothamist Guide to the Brooklyn Borough President Race

  • The Gothamist Guide to the Comptroller Race

  • The Gothamist Guide to the Public Advocate Race
  • Gothamist and our partners, NY1 News, NY1 Noticias, WNYC, Citizens Committee for New York City, Citizens Union, Hispanic Federation, and Transportation Alternatives, sponsored the official Campaign Finance Board debates, including the official Democratic mayoral debate on August 21.