With Quinn’s Campaign Over, Her Focus Is on Council
NEW YORK—Just two days after a crushing defeat in the Democratic mayoral primary, Christine Quinn was back at City Hall Thursday, fulfilling her role as city council speaker. She looked tired, but her attitude was positive, and she joked with the press corps and fellow council members.
Everyone in the room was eager to hear from Quinn, who was making her first public appearance since election night, what her next move will be. Will she run for a state legislative office? Will she retire to the private sector? Will she go back to housing advocacy?
“There’ll be another chapter but I haven’t started to write it up,” Quinn said with a beaming smile from the Red Room at City hall on Thursday.
Quinn said her focus remains squarely on getting numerous pieces of legislation through council by the end of the year. Twenty-one council members, including Quinn, are leaving office at the end of the year. Bills whose sponsor leaves council will be marked “Sin Die” (without a scheduled date), and could have a much harder time getting passed through the new council.
“I want to talk about that with my colleagues because I really want to make sure the legislative priorities from now until December 31 reflect the priorities of my colleagues, and no disrespect to those coming back, but particularly to my colleagues who are not returning,” Quinn said. “Rest assured, we will do as much as we possibly can between now and December 31.”
This year saw some races that pitted council member against council member, like the Manhattan Borough race, which saw Gale Brewer defeat Jessica Lapin and Robert Jackson. Some members did not support Speaker Quinn’s campaign for mayor.
Despite the politics, Quinn said it will not stop the council from coming together to pass legislation.
“What people may have run against each other for a few days ago, who they may have supported for this or that, a few days ago, it has nothing to do with the job here,” Quinn said. “That is what makes this institution one of the best examples of legislative democracy anywhere in the country.”
Quinn did not fully come out and endorse rival Bill de Blasio, who won primary day and is still awaiting a full count to see if a runoff with Bill Thompson is needed.
“I have made it clear I am going to enthusiastically support the Democratic nominee,” Quinn said. “I think it is clear to most folks, that it will be Bill de Blasio.”
When asked if Thompson, who took home 26 percent of the vote Tuesday, should drop his challenge on the recount, Quinn said that would be up to him. De Blasio has just over 40 percent of the vote, the number needed to avoid a recount, however, the thousands of affidavit ballots have not been counted. Thompson has vowed to have every last ballot counted before conceding.
If losing the election bothered Quinn, who lost out on becoming the city’s first female, and the first openly gay mayor, it did not show much on Thursday. She did not want to reflect on what went wrong, and was certainly not ready to talk about her future—she seemed ready to get to work.
“There is a lot of government work to do between now and the 31st [of December],” Quinn said. “There is a lot of political work to do between now and Election Day and when all that is done, there is time for reflection and analysis of what did or did not go correctly.”