In 1981 Mayor Ed Koch ran for reelection after New York City had begun to recover from the fiscal crisis, balancing its budget a year ahead of schedule and borrowing money on its own credit. As a result, Koch's popularity was very high.
He faced an underfunded challenge in the Democratic primary from liberal Brooklyn State Assembly member Frank Barbaro, who attacked Koch for reducing taxes for the wealthy, while cutting the city's education and social services. Koch not only defeated Barbaro in the Democratic primary, but simultaneously won the Republican primary, making him the only candidate to win the nominations of both major parties in New York City. Koch was overwhelmingly reelected in the November general election against Barbaro and Liberal, Conservative and Right to Life nominees.
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