City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who was once considered the heir to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s throne, ended her campaign for mayor on Tuesday night, coming in a distant third place in the polls.
“I want to congratulate my opponents Bill Thompson and Bill de Blasio on a hard-earned victory,” an emotional Ms. Quinn told enthusiastic supports gathered at the swanky Dream Hotel in Chelsea, where the only decoration was a single “Christine Quinn for New York” banner hung above a simple stage.
“This was a hard-fought race, we took a lot of knocks, we were up against a lot off odds, but I am proud of the race we all ran,” she said, trying to stress the positive impact of her campaign.
“There’s a young girl out there who was inspired by the thought of New York’s first woman mayor and said to herself, ‘You know what? I can do this,” she said, interrupted by frequent chants of “You’re not done!” from the crowd.
The mood in the room had been somber throughout the night as exit polls made clear that Ms. Quinn had been eclipsed by Bill de Blasio, the public advocate, whose campaign had soared from behind in the final weeks, promising a break from the Bloomberg years.
The outcome was a stunning blow for Ms. Quinn, who spent the first months of the race as the undisputed front-runner, nearly approaching the crucial 40 percent that she would have needed to win without a runoff.
But Ms. Quinn’s team and surrogates acknowledged Tuesday that they had miscalculated the growing frustrations with the current administration and desire to move in a new direction–a sentiment Mr. de Blasio seized early on. As the primary electorate skewed left, Ms. Quinn dug in her heels on positions like supporting Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and seemed reluctant to tout the historic status of her candidacy as the potential first female and openly gay mayor.
And as her campaign tried to stress her record as Council Speaker–a notoriously difficult perch–her opponents assailed her as too close to Mr. Bloomberg, repeatedly raising her decision to extend term limits, paving the way for his unpopular third term.
Helping seal the deal was a $1 million independent expenditure by anti-horse carriage advocates that flooded the airwaves early with their “Anybody But Quinn” message, driving up Ms. Quinn’s negatives as voters began to tune into the race.
Before Ms. Quinn’s speech, Robert Lubell, a TCI professor who lives on the Upper East Side, said he was disappointed by the showing, but had realized things were bad as he placed calls as a campaign volunteer.
“All of the calls I had, it all connected back to Bloomberg. They were tired of the Bloomberg years, and she has the face of Bloomberg,” he said as the results rolled in.
“It’s a shame,” echoed Ward Auerback, a printer, who lamented the fact that Ms. Quinn had failed to connect with black and women voters. “It’s wonderful to hear Bill Thompson and de Blasio speak of all they wanna do. But some of it isn’t practical. I really wish that the results were better for Christine. She’s a terrific, terrific leader.”
While he said he liked Mr. de Blasio as a person and “looooves” Mr. de Blasio’s son, Dante, Mr. Auerback said that–despite being a life-long Democrat–he would consider casting his general election ballot for Republican nominee Joe Lhota come November.
“He is too beholden to the city unions, which are going to bankrupt–that’s dramatic” the city, he said of Mr. de Blasio.