Former New York City Mayor and Congressman Ed Koch passed away this morning of congestive heart failure. He was 88.
A native of the Bronx, Koch served as an infantryman during WWII earning two Battle Stars. Upon his return to the U.S., Koch attended City College of New York and attended law school at New York University. Koch became active in Democratic politics and was a fierce foe of Tammany Hall. After a brief stint on the New York City Council, Koch was elected to Congress in 1968 and re-elected four times.
However, Koch is best known for his three terms as Mayor of New York City, a post to which he was first elected in 1977. The avuncular life-long bachelor became well known outside of New York for his frequent appearances on Saturday Night Live.
In 1982, Koch sought the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination but was defeated by Mario Cuomo who served as New York’s governor for three terms. Meanwhile, Koch remained at Gracie Mansion and, for the most part, lived up to his billing as “a liberal with sanity.”
Koch sought a fourth term in 1989 but beset by corruption scandals within his administration (though not himself) was defeated by David Dinkins who went on to defeat Rudy Giuliani that November.
In the late 1990s, Koch appeared on The People’s Court.
A staunch supporter of Israel, Koch occasionally supported Republicans as he did with President George W. Bush in 2004 and with Bob Turner in the 2011 special congressional election following the Anthony Weiner scandal.
However, Koch supported President Obama in both 2008 and 2012. However, it was only last month that Koch said he knew Obama would “renege” on his support for Israel with his nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Koch just didn’t think it would be so soon.
Nevertheless, Koch was a colorful figure who was unabashed in his love for New York City and America in good times and bad.
Ironically, a documentary about Koch is to be released today.
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