Coordinator for Educational Programs
In 1989 Ed Koch attempted what no other mayor had achieved: election to a fourth term. Koch's commercials were similar to those in 1985: regular New Yorkers saying he wasn't perfect, but was doing a good job. After 12 years as mayor and burdened by a scandal-tainted third term and a perception that he was racially divisive, many New Yorkers were looking for change.
Most voters who rejected Koch turned to Manhattan Borough President David Dinkins, an African-American, who promised conciliation in contrast to the tumultuous Koch. Building on Rev. Jesse Jackson's success in the 1988 Democratic presidential primary, Dinkins won a majority in the 1989 Democratic mayoral primary and narrowly defeated Rudy Giuliani in the general election. Ed Koch had failed in his quest for an unprecedented fourth term, but when later asked if he would run again he humorously replied, "The people have spoken ... And they must be punished."