To recap: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent running on the Republican and Independence Party lines, won a third term on Nov. 3, edging City Comptroller William Thompson (D).
The next election is scheduled for 2013.
And that race should begin in about, oh, I'd say, now.
Assuming they don't once again change the term-limits law and allow him to run for a fourth time -- a very fair assumption -- this will be Bloomberg's last term. And for those Democrats looking at 2013, having Bloomberg in office (rather than Thompson) "may actually better position themselves" for the next campaign, writes Sara Kugler of the Associated Press.
Here's an early-bird look -- a very early-bird look -- at potential candidates for 2013.
Thompson -- He gave up his post as comptroller to run this year, but finishing within five points was better than anyone expected. Don't be surprised if you see a lot of "Don't Blame Me / I Voted For Thompson" signs in the next couple of years.
John Liu -- elected comptroller in 2009. Would be the city's first Asian-American mayoral candidate. Click here to see my list of NYC comptrollers who have run for mayor since World War II.
Bill de Blasio -- elected city's public advocate in 2009. A former campaign aide to Hillary Clinton, de Blasio knows the in's and out's of political strategy. I expect to see him emerge as the leading Bloomberg critic in the months and years ahead.
Christine Quinn -- the city council speaker. She is close with Bloomberg which was once, but is no longer, a plus for her. Her numbers in this September's primary were less than impressive.
Scott Stringer -- re-elected this year as Manhattan borough president. As with Quinn, Stringer backed Bloomberg's successful effort to change the term-limits law. He briefly flirted with challenging Senate appointee Kirsten Gillibrand in next year's Democratic primary.
Anthony Weiner -- The Brooklyn congressman ran for mayor in 2005 and lost the Democratic primary. He was ready to run again this year, but ultimately decided against it once Bloomberg made it clear he was not leaving and would spend whatever it took to win. From the beginning, the mayor's camp expected Weiner to run and relished the fight, sending out attack broadsides at every opportunity. The feeling here was that Weiner was always afraid of getting his clock cleaned by Bloomberg. But in the wake of the closer-than-expected election earlier this month, Weiner is now going around telling everyone that he could have won. Maybe yes, maybe no. You can't win if you don't run.
Note: Democrats have lost four consecutive mayoral races in New York for the first time in the city's history. If ever they were going to take back City Hall, it would be in 2013. And that's why the Democratic field could be huge.