Despite what polls say, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn sounded an optimistic note on MSNBC Monday, one day before voters head to the ballot box for the Big Apple’s mayoral primary.
“I’ve been in every position in the polls; just about everybody in the top three has been at every point in the polls at some point,” said Quinn, an early frontrunner whose standing has slipped below opponent Bill de Blasio in the final days of a hotly watched mayoral contest.
“The first poll that matters is tomorrow,” she said.
A Quinnipiac University survey taken on September 8 puts Public Advocate de Blasio in the lead among likely Democratic primary voters with 39 percent; former Comptroller Bill Thompson came in at number two with 25%, and Quinn--who would be the city’s first woman and first openly gay mayor--in third with 18%.
If one primary candidate captures 40% of the vote, he or she can avoid a runoff vote in October and head straight to the general election. But in the case of a runoff, Quinn would need to come in at least second place to take part.
Nevertheless, she anticipates a strong showing of her supporters in the Democratic primary Tuesday.
“I’m out there every day--been out there all day today already--talking to voters, and the response I’m getting from women, from older New Yorkers, from parents--I was just at some public schools--is really terrific,” said Quinn. “What they’re telling me is that they have now, in the final hours, which is when we knew people would make up their mind, decided to vote for me.”
Quinn’s early popularity with voters fell victim to attacks on her alignment with the current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and to opponent Bill de Blasio’s skillful handling of the "stop-and-frisk" debate, which came to the fore in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Florida teen, Trayvon Martin. Both of those issues came up over the weekend when Bloomberg criticized de Blasio’s use of his multiracial family, calling his campaign “class-warfare and racist” in an interview with New York Magazine.
Quinn, who had already tried to separate herself from Bloomberg’s support of stop-and-frisk, further condemned his remarks.
“I couldn’t disagree with Mayor Bloomberg more,” said Quinn on Monday. “His comments were totally inappropriate, should never have been made. Bill de Blasio has a lovely family, he’s clearly very proud of them, and he should be.”
Quinn also pushed back on remarks by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who she has supported, after he told a business group breakfast that not one mayoral candidate had asked him for a briefing on terrorism in the country's largest city.
“My staff is constantly in touch with Ray Kelly’s staff at the police department, getting regular updates, and checking in, and getting briefings on a regular basis,” said Quinn. “We cannot allow our city to sustain another terrorist attack, nor can we let crime go up in this city.”
Quinn ended her interview as she hopes to end her campaign: on a high note.
“I want whoever the voters send to the runoff with me,” she said, “and then I’m confident that I will win that runoff.”