The Female Candidate’s Dilemma: Christine Quinn Softens Image in Tight Mayor’s Race

Dale Stephanos
(Illustration: Dale Stephanos)

Standing alongside her rivals at the first broadcast debate of the mayor’s race, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the contest’s former front-runner, seemed like a candy-coated version of herself.

Suited up to stand out in a bright pink dress and powder-pink jacket, the famously brash Ms. Quinn spoke slowly and softly, her head cocked slightly to the side, seemingly coached to dig into her opponents and deliver repeated talking points with a frozen smile.

“Quinn trapped in consultant Saran Wrap,” remarked one noted columnist of the wooden performance. One stunned Democratic operative described “a Stepford wife version of Chris Quinn.” A writer, pegging Ms. Quinn “the grinning assassin,” suggested she was “smiling and speaking slowly, as if trying not to alarm the audience.”

Christine Quinn and her Democratic rivals.
Christine Quinn and her rivals on stage.

In an interview with Politicker after the forum, Ms. Quinn ascribed the observations to nerves ahead of the biggest primary debate yet.

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