News (USA)

Quinn falls short in bid to become first female, first LGBT mayor of New York

NEW YORK — Lesbian city official and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn fell far short Tuesday of her goal to win at least a run-off spot in the New York City mayoral race’s Democratic primary.

Despite having the endorsement of The New York Times and the New York Daily News, Quinn came in third out of nine Democratic primary candidates and, with only 15 percent of the vote, was not able to force frontrunner Bill de Blasio into a run-off contest.

Christine Quinn concedes Democratic Mayoral Primary. Her wife, Kim Catullo (left) is at her side.

De Blasio ended the night with 40.2 percent of the Democratic primary vote, just over the 40 percent needed to avoid a run-off. But there were still a significant number of ballots –including paper ballots—to be counted, so it is not yet sure that he has secured the Democratic nomination.

If De Blasio fails to finish with 40 percent of the vote, he will be thrown into a run-off October 1 against former comptroller Bill Thompson Jr., who took second with 26 percent) of the vote.

Quinn’s campaign was an important one to the LGBT community. If successful, she would have become both the first lesbian mayor of the nation’s largest city.

But exit poll results reported by The New York Times indicated Quinn, who serves as speaker of New York’s 50-member city council, came in second even in the heavily gay sections of the city, such as the West Village, Chelsea, and lesbian favored Park Slope.

Overall, throughout the city, the Times’ exit polls showed that 45 percent of voters who identified as “gay, lesbian, or bisexual” supported De Blasio, 39 percent supported Quinn, nine percent supported Thompson, and seven percent supported other candidates. (LGB people comprised nine percent of those responding to exit polls.)

Quinn had led by as much as 24 points shortly after she entered the race and led by nine points as recently as August 2.

Some news media suggested Quinn lost points with voters because she supported incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg in overturning New York City’s term limits for mayor. Others say she didn’t do enough to oppose the city’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” policy.

There were also news stories from time to time, including in the Times, portraying Quinn has unleashing a fierce temper on colleagues and having “threatened, repeatedly, to slice off the private parts of those who cross her.”

But many prominent members of the LGBT community did back Quinn.

Gay City News reported that, going into the weekend before Tuesday’s primary, Quinn staged a rally for her campaign at the historic Stonewall Inn. In video posted by Gay City News, Quinn told the Friday night crowd, “Nobody has ever handed our community anything” and vowed to continue fighting for the LGBT community”.

Taking the stage to endorse and rally support for her were openly gay former State Senator Tom Duane, DOMA plaintiff Edie Windsor, and actor Cheyenne Jackson.

Gay City News also endorsed Quinn, saying that, while the top five Democrats were “all advocates” for LGBT equality, Quinn would bring “unique and disciplined skills” to the job.

De Blasio, the likely Democratic nominee, has a strong record on LGBT issues. As a member of the mayoral administration of David Dinkins, de Blasio helped usher in a domestic partner registry. As a city council member, he co-sponsored a bill to end discrimination based on gender identity.

In his campaign, De Blasio promised to fund programs for LGBT youth and seniors, push for federal immigration reform to help same-sex couples, and “lead an aggressive campaign” to ensure LGBT people have health insurance.

The Democratic nominee will face the winner of the Republican primary, Joe Lhota, head of the city’s transit system, in November.

Registered Democratic voters out-number Republicans six to one.

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