New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced today through her Twitter feed that she’s entering the race to succeed Michael Bloomberg as mayor of the Big Apple. If elected, she’d become both the city’s first female and first out gay mayor.
“I’m running for mayor because I love this city. It’s the greatest place in the world,” Quinn said in a video linked to her post, before setting out to start what she called a walk-and-talk tour intended to take her to every neighborhood in the city before the Democratic primary in September.
A former tenant organizer and director of a gay and lesbian advocacy group, Quinn, 46, has been on the City Council since 1999 and its leader since 2006, according to The Associated Press. That’s given her considerable exposure going into the growingly crowded field of candidates.
A Quinnipiac University poll late last month showed Quinn’s support among Democratic voters at 37 percent. Her opponents each received less than 15 percent.
Although registered Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 6 to 1 in the city, no Democrat has won the city’s top post since 1989.
AP reported that Quinn has generally been perceived as likely to get the Republican-turned-independent Bloomberg’s backing, and with it support from business leaders. Some of her Democratic opponents have tried to use that against her, suggesting Quinn is too close to a mayor they accuse of neglecting the concerns of middle-class and working-class New Yorkers.
Quinn has also been criticized for helping Bloomberg get the council to agree to extend term limits so he could run for a third time in 2008.
Quinn married her longtime partner, products liability lawyer Kim Catullo, last year after more than a decade together. Their wedding guest list was a who’s-who of New York politics, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Bloomberg and many other officeholders in attendance.
Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch was widely believed to be gay. Early in his career, he denied the rumors but later he refused to either confirm or deny them. Koch was among the politicians featured in "Outrage," a 2009 documentary about closeted gay elected officials.