Christine Quinn ended her campaign for New York City mayor with a third-place finish in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary – and an outpouring of support from the national LGBT community.
Quinn, New York City Council’s influential speaker, would have been the city’s first female mayor, as well as the city’s first openly gay or lesbian mayor.
She had an early advantage and strong poll numbers until late in the contest, when New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio suddenly surged ahead. De Blasio placed first in the primary and will face John Lhota in the Nov. 5 general election race to succeed Michael Bloomberg, who has termed out after 12 years. Pundits attributed Quinn’s loss to her role in helping Michael Bloomberg win an unprecedented third term, as well as to de Blasio’s more effective advertising.
“There’s no sugar-coating what an emotional loss this is for her, her many supporters and for all of us here at the Victory Fund,” said Chuck Wolfe, CEO and president of the VF, which exists to recruit, train and endorse openly LGBT candidates at all levels of elected government.
Wolfe, who has known Quinn for years, described her as “a remarkably effective and passionate advocate for LGBT equality and, most importantly, for everyone who calls New York City home. Few people are as committed to anything as Chris is to New York, but I can tell you that all of us at Victory were behind this campaign with all our hearts.”
Quinn, who was endorsed by The New York Times, the Daily News and the New York Post, kicked off the final days of her long campaign with a nighttime rally at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village.
Edith Windsor, the New York City widow who whose lawsuit overturned Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, introduced Quinn to the crowd outside the Stonewall, where the legendary riots took place in 1969.
“We’re standing on hallowed ground, on a place where people before us said we’re not going to get pushed around anymore,” Quinn said. “In the course of this campaign we’ve taken a lot of hits. We’ve been attacked over and over by opponents and by individual expenditures, and we’re right here tonight, on ground where people fought back against things much harder than we have, against things much harder than the attacks I have taken in this campaign, to send a message that we’re moving forward. Nobody has ever handed our community anything. We’ve gotten there by organizing, by joining with our allies, by educating and by pushing forward, and that’s what we’re going do until Tuesday.”
Wolfe, reflecting on Quinn’s campaign in a message to Victory Fund supporters, noted that, since its founding, New York City has had more than 100 mayors – and all of them have been men.
“That’s a hell of a glass ceiling,” he said. “Even in New York, women and LGBT candidates have steeper hills to climb, and that’s why we continue to fight for people like Chris, who was battling a centuries-old tradition of electing only men to Gracie Mansion. We will never, ever back down from those tough races.”
Eight of 10 Victory Fund candidates running in New York elections on Sept. 10 were victorious, including city council candidates Carlos Memchaca, Rosie Mendez and Ritchie Torres.