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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 6 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 36
Quinn polls #3 in NYC mayoral race - City will have to wait at least four more years for first woman mayor
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Quinn polls #3 in NYC mayoral race - City will have to wait at least four more years for first woman mayor

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

New York City Council President Christine Quinn lost badly in her bid to become the first woman and the first Lesbian mayor of New York City in the city's September 10 primary election.

Once the Democratic Party frontrunner, Quinn finished a distant third in a field of seven candidates. Her only consolation may be that she won three times as many votes as former congressman and current 'sexter' Anthony Weiner.

City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, an also-ran in early polling, surged in the last few weeks of the campaign to win the primary, apparently exceeding the 40% threshold needed to avoid a primary runoff. (Vote totals had not been finalized when this newspaper went to press.)

TOO CLOSE TO MAYOR?
Although she is arguably New York's most powerful Lesbian, Quinn suffered at the polls because of her close identification with outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Quinn engineered a 2008 amendment to the city's term limits law that allowed Bloomberg to run for a third term in office, and she was often portrayed as running for 'Bloomberg's fourth term.'

Early on in her campaign, it was already clear that Quinn had lost the support of progressive LGBT activists, in spite of such celebrity endorsers as Dustin Lance Black and George Takei.

She was also dragged down by old charges of political corruption. In 2008, a New York Post story charged her with creating a secret slush fund, which she used to dole out political favors to supporters.

The charge stuck. A May Village Voice cover portrayed her as a cigar-chomping big-city boss.

'STOP AND FRISK'
De Blasio hammered both Bloomberg and Quinn when a federal district judge ruled on August 12 that the NYPD's 'stop and frisk' policy championed by Bloomberg was an unconstitutional 'form of racial profiling.' Quinn, like Bloomberg, supported the practice, which targeted mostly men of color who were not suspected of any specific crime.

Quinn and de Blasio also staked out differing positions on marijuana, with de Blasio promising that as mayor he would instruct NYPD not to arrest people for using pot. Quinn would say only that she supports the herb's medical use.

De Blasio may also have benefited from a last-minute gaffe by Bloomberg, who accused him of running a 'racist' campaign ad featuring his 16-year-old son, Dante. De Blasio is married to an African American woman and his son sports an enormous Afro. Bloomberg quickly backpedalled on the charge, but public sympathy was overwhelmingly with de Blasio.

BROAD-BASED SUPPORT
Exit polling showed that de Blasio had appeal across the demographic spectrum: He was ahead in all five boroughs; he was running even with Thompson, the only African American candidate, among Black voters; and he was ahead of Quinn with both female and LGBT voters. Quinn was the only woman in the race.

Former Metropolitan Transit Authority Chairman Joe Lhota easily won the Republican nomination and is widely expected to lose to de Blasio in the November election. If so, de Blasio would be the first Democrat elected mayor of New York since David Dinkins, in 1989.

Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in 2008 after admitting to buying the services of high-priced prostitutes, failed in his comeback bid, losing the Democratic primary for the post of city comptroller to Scott Stringer.

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