Ferrer, City Council Speaker Peter Vallone — who stood with Giuliani at Monday's news conference — Green, and City Comptroller Alan Hevesi ran against each other in the Democratic primary. Republicans had to choose between entrepreneur Michael Bloomberg and Herman Badillo.
Candidates need a plurality of 40 percent to advance to the general election, tentatively scheduled for Nov. 6. If no candidate gets enough votes, the top two will advance to an early October runoff.
Whether he winds up on the ballot or not in November, voters will have Giuliani's performance in mind.
"In crises, politicians will be leading the way in terms of public opinion," said Richard F. Zimmerman, a scholar of urban politics and government. "So they'll no doubt think of Giuliani."
Candidates Have Not Campaigned Since Terror Attacks
None of Giuliani's prospective successors had campaigned since the Sept. 11 attacks. The city's campaign finance board ordered the campaigns to halt expenditures, and they all did. Aside from a few appearances at previously scheduled public forums and a few interviews granted to the New York newspapers, the six men who would be mayor stayed out of the media and public eye.
"The campaigning has stopped," said Green spokesman Joe DePlasco. "We have other things on our mind." But, he said, "The people of New York are interested in hearing what [the candidates] have to say."
Whoever takes office next year faces enormous challenges.
Zimmerman gives only the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and the great Chicago fire of 1871 as precedents for rebuilding. Though stock brokerages and law firms are living in temporary quarters, the facility of trading and the utility of business won't be up to speed until Verizon repairs its transmission building, until construction companies patch up the thousands of broken windows, until the debris is clear, which could take months.
The city could stand to lose billions in lost revenue from the dearth of tourists, industry job cuts and a slowdown in consumer spending.
Hundreds of firefighters and police officers need to be replaced. The city must spend millions and millions of dollars on top of the $1 billion New York Fire Department budget to buy new firetrucks, pay new firefighters, train the others, and treat the injured. The NYPD and several local agencies will likely ask for budget increases. (Crime is down 55 percent since the disasters, which NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik attributes to more people staying inside their homes).
On the backburner, for now, are health and education, two areas upon which Giuliani belatedly focused his attention.
Harold Levy, the chancellor of the school system, has more important issues to attend to, and it remains to be seen whether a divided state Legislature in Albany will appropriate as much for education as it planned to before, according to one source who has talked with assembly and Senate members. So far, Ferrer has been the only candidate to mention the "urgent" need for increased spending on these areas.
Polls closed at 9 p.m.
Marc Ambinder and Stephen J. Yesner contributed to this report.