Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, whose leadership of the nation's 11th-largest city has been tainted by scandal and the threat of financial collapse, was locked in a too-close-to-call re-election race yesterday as the FBI investigated allegations that the names of dead people were used to cast absentee ballots.
Exit polls showed challenger and former deputy mayor Freman Hendrix holding a lead over Kilpatrick, who if defeated would be the first incumbent Detroit mayor voted out of office in more than four decades.
With about 51 percent of the vote counted, Hendrix held a 55-45 percent lead over Kilpatrick.
While yesterday's mayoral elections unseated incumbents in St. Paul and Cleveland, incumbents in New York, Boston and Houston glided to victory.
In New York, Republican Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, 63, easily won a second term over Democratic challenger and former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, 55, dashing Ferrer's hopes of becoming the city's first Hispanic mayor.
A billionaire media mogul, Bloomberg spent more than $70 million, waging the most expensive mayoral re-election campaign in history.
In pre-election polling, Bloomberg trounced Ferrer for weeks among Democrats and African-Americans and ran close among Hispanics.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, 62, handily won a fourth term, defeating longtime City Councilor Maura Hennigan, 53, in her bid to become the city's first female mayor.
If Menino completes the term, he will become Boston's longest-serving mayor.
Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, who faced two little-known challengers in her bid for a second term, won easily.
Earning more than 90 percent of the vote, Houston Mayor Bill White won a second term. His popularity has soared after the city absorbed evacuees from Hurricane Katrina and took strong measures to protect residents from Hurricane Rita.
In Cleveland, City Council President Frank Jackson defeated incumbent Jane Campbell, the city's first female mayor.
In St. Paul, Democratic challenger Chris Coleman won in a landslide against first-term Mayor Randy Kelly, also a Democrat. In heavily Democratic St. Paul, the race was dominated by Kelly's controversial 2004 endorsement of President Bush, a Republican.