September 9, 2013 at 9:30 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Quinn rallies at Stonewall Inn in final push for mayor
Christine Quinn, New York City, gay news, Washington Blade

Christine Quinn faces voters Tuesday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn took her campaign to become New York’s first gay and first female mayor to the historic Stonewall Inn on Friday night for a rally launching her final push leading up to the city’s Democratic mayoral primary on Tuesday.

The rally, which drew more than 200 people, including many of New York’s most prominent LGBT rights advocates, came one day before an NBC 4 New York-Wall Street Journal poll showed Quinn trailing her lead rival, New York Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, by 16 points.

The poll also showed that she and rival Bill Thompson, the former city comptroller, were tied for second place in the race with 20 percent each.

Earlier polls had Quinn in the lead, but in the past month de Blasio has surged, according to several polls, putting him at 36 percent and in striking distance to capture the 40 percent threshold needed to win the Democratic nomination outright without having to compete in a runoff.

“We’re standing on hallowed ground on a place where people before us said we’re not going to get pushed around anymore,” Quinn told the Friday night rally. The event was held outside the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village gay bar that was the site of the 1969 riots by gays and transgender people in response to a police raid that’s credited with triggering the modern LGBT rights movement.

“And you know what?” said Quinn. “In the course of this campaign we’ve taken a lot of hits. We’ve been attacked over and over by my opponents and by independent expenditures. And we’re right here tonight on ground where people fought back against things much harder than we have – much harder than the attacks I’ve taken in this campaign.”

Added Quinn, “We’re moving forward because nobody has ever handed our community anything. We got there by organizing, by joining with our allies, by educating, and by pushing forward. And that’s what we’re going to do until Tuesday.”

The crowd replied by chanting, “Win with Quinn! Win with Quinn!”

But earlier in the day de Blasio was also cheered by gays as he campaigned in nearby Chelsea, a gay neighborhood in the heart of Quinn’s City Council district, according to a report by the New York Daily News, which has endorsed Quinn.

The LGBT-supportive de Blasio’s warm reception in what some said should have been unfriendly territory was viewed as yet another sign of Quinn’s struggle to capture enough votes to win a slot in the two-candidate runoff election scheduled to take place Oct. 1 if no candidate wins 40 percent of the overall vote on Tuesday.

Kenneth Sherrill, a political science professor emeritus at New York’s Hunter College, told the Blade on Sunday that Quinn’s slide in the polls and struggle to beat Thompson for a second-place finish has “absolutely nothing” to do with Quinn’s sexual orientation.

Sherrill and other political observers say Quinn’s troubles, among other things, are due to the perception by many voters that she is closely aligned with three-term New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has become highly unpopular in the past few years.

“When you’re speaker you have a choice,” Sherrill said. “You either can oppose everything the mayor does or you can be a partner in governing and help shape policies and make them wiser and improve things,” he said. “And doing things that make you an effective speaker are frequently things that don’t make you a popular candidate for mayor.”

Spokespersons for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and the Human Rights Campaign, national LGBT advocacy groups that have endorsed Quinn, said volunteers and staff members from the two groups were in New York working on the Quinn campaign’s get-out-the-vote effort.

In addition to the Daily News, the New York Times and the New York Post have also endorsed Quinn for mayor, calling her a skilled and seasoned politician capable of doing the best job of running New York City at this time.

The NBC 4 NY-Wall Street Journal poll, which was conducted by the Marist polling firm, showed de Blasio with 36 percent; Quinn and Thompson with 20 percent; former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner with 7 percent; New York Comptroller John Liu with 5 percent; and Bronx pastor Erick Salgado and former City Council member Sal Albanese each with 1 percent.

The poll shows that women voters support de Blasio over Quinn by a margin of 34 percent to 21 percent even though Quinn is the only woman in the race. The poll shows that de Blasio is leading Thompson among black voters by a margin of 39 percent to 25 percent even though Thompson is the only black candidate in the race and de Blasio is white.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • If she had been at the Stonewall Riot, I bet she would have told the crowd to calm down and not rebel against the cops. Heck, she might have even asked the NYPD to stop and frisk the homos!

  • Sadly, Christine Quinn who made a long and valiant effort to succeed Mayor Bloomberg as the next mayor of New York City lost out, almost inexplicably, to newcomer Bill de Blasio. New York City is a tough town and always is in need of a tough "guy" to run things. Quinn was no pushover. De Blasio somehow surged ahead with Italian and African American voters. He will now face a tough challenge from his no-nonsense GOP opponent. Quinn could run now as an independent but a split Dem/Ind. vote would mean a GOP win.

© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2021. All rights reserved.