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City Council speaker launches NYC mayoral bid

Last Updated: Sunday, March 10, 2013 - 23:34

City Council speaker launches NYC mayoral bid

New York: A veteran of New York City politics formally launched on Sunday what she hopes will be a history-making mayoral bid: She would be the first female and first openly gay mayor to lead the largest US city.

Democratic City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced through her Twitter feed that she`s in the race, saying she wanted to give middle- and working-class New Yorkers the same opportunities generations of her family got when they came to New York.

"I`m running for mayor because I love this city. It`s the greatest place in the world," she said in a video linked to her post, before starting what she called a walk-and-talk tour intended to take her to every neighbourhood in the city before the Democratic primary in September.

A former tenant organiser and director of a gay and lesbian advocacy group, Quinn, 46, has been on the City Council since 1999 and its leader since 2006. The position has afforded her considerable exposure going into the crowded field of candidates vying to succeed term-limited Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

She`s enjoyed a considerable edge over other Democratic contenders in polls. A Quinnipiac University poll late last month gave her 37 per cent of the Democratic vote, while her opponents each got less than 15 per cent. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 6 to 1 in the city, though that hasn`t translated into Democratic success in a mayor`s race since 1989.

Quinn has generally been perceived as likely to get the Republican-turned-independent Bloomberg`s backing, and with it support from business leaders.

Some of her Democratic opponents have tried to use that against her, suggesting Quinn is too close to a mayor they say has sometimes turned a cold shoulder to the concerns of middle-class and working-class New Yorkers. Opponents have faulted her, for example, for joining Bloomberg in opposing a plan to require businesses with at least five employees to provide paid sick leave. Quinn has said it`s a worthy goal, but now is not the economic time to do it.

She also has taken heat for helping Bloomberg get the council to agree to extend term limits so he could run for a third time in 2008, without asking the voters who had approved a two-term limit twice in the 1990s.

In office, Quinn leads 50 other council members and largely controls what proposals come to a vote. Her announced and likely Democratic opponents include former City Councilman Sal Albanese; Public Advocate Bill de Blasio; Comptroller John Liu, who would be the city`s first Asian-American mayor; and former Comptroller Bill Thompson.


First Published: Sunday, March 10, 2013 - 23:34
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