The Break: The Fight for Charter Reform and the 1961 Mayoral Election
The tension between party leader Carmine De Sapio and Mayor Robert Wagner came to a head when the mayor called for De Sapio’s resignation as party chief of Manhattan and head of Tammany Hall. De Sapio organized a campaign to depose the mayor by denying him support of Tammany and many of the other regular political clubs and county organizations in the 1961 Democratic primary for mayor. In a bitterly contested election fight, Wagner beat the candidate backed by the party bosses, state comptroller Arthur Levitt. Simultaneously, Mayor Wagner engineered changes to the city charter that increased the power of the mayoralty relative to other politicians in New York.
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