Let’s face it.
If you’re City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the race for NYC Mayor can’t get here fast enough.
Quinn who has a shot at making history not only as the first woman mayor of the Big Apple, but also as the first openly gay mayor of the city, has been receiving some good press regarding her strong support for gay marriage and legislation she’s backed mandating a controversial “living wage” for employees of businesses receiving city subsidies.
Her latest positive news comes from Marist College. In a poll released this week by NY1/Marist, Quinn has jumped to a 20-point lead in the 2013 Democratic Primary.
Pollster Lee Miringoff mostly credits a surge of support from voters in her home borough of Manhattan.
Quinn is at 32 percent; her closest competitor, former Comptroller and the last Democratic Nominee for Mayor Bill Thompson is at 12 percent; Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, 10 percent; Comptroller John Liu, 9 percent; Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, 7 percent. Twenty-nine percent were undecided.
Quinn leads by a large margin among white voters, with 41 percent, to just 11 percent each for de Blasio and Stringer. She even holds a slight edge among African-American voters, leading Thompson by a statistically-insignificant three percentage points. Quinn also leads among Latino voters by 14 points.
But historically, good news for front-runners can also be bad news.
One, you become the early target with a bulls-eye on your back.
Two, if you don’t think being a front-runner is a tricky, delicate process, ask yourself why do so many candidates duck the front-runner tag, and also ask former candidate for Mayor Alan Hevesi.
In the 2001 race, Hevesi was supposed to be a lock….
or at least that’s what his consultant at the time proclaimed, and Hevesi bought into the hype. Some observers would argue Hevesi became arrogant as a candidate, bought into the inevitability script, and the rest is history. Hevesi even went up to nemesis Rev. Al Sharpton’s headquarters and and ended up almost scolding someone who asked a question.
Not only did Hevesi not win the primary. He came in dead last in the 4 way primary against City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, Public Advocate Mark Green, and Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer. (more on this race later) Democrats still can’t live it down.
But Quinn knows not to take anything for granted.
Quinn knows what’s she is up against, and frankly it’s amazing to watch how she has gone from a protester to the second most powerful position in the city.
If you’re a Democrat in NYC, the goal is to make it into the run-off if the winner does not obtain 40 percent of the vote. Quinn appears to be a lock for a run-off, but anything can happen in such a scenario. The narratives often don’t play the way the candidates would like them too.
Who can turn out their base?
Perhaps more importantly, hopefully the two candidates will not kill each other?
Remember Ferrer and Green. It opened the door for 12 years of a political novice named Michael Bloomberg.
The million dollar question is Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who is being vigorously wooed by Republican leaders.
Responding to the poll, Bill Thompson says “the race hasn’t even begun.”
City Comptroller John Liu, who went from 12 to 9 percent, responds he was in good shape considering his campaign is looking at ethics allegations.
“We continue to hold steady despite the massive barrage of the last few months,” said a Liu spokesman. “That is really something. We are grateful to our supporters who remain rock solid.”
Over the past few months, Quinn has sought to distance herself from Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Quinn hascalled cuts in child-care and after-school programs sought by Bloomberg “unacceptable,” and she sued the Bloomberg administration over its policy of asking New Yorkers seeking a bed in the city’s homeless shelters to prove they had no other place to stay.
Right now the race is Quinn’s to lose.
Dare it be said, could she topple the necessary 40 percent to avoid a run-off?
However, don’t sleep on Bill Thompson. Didn’t Bloomberg, almost to his own peril?
Keep in mind Thompson gave Bloomberg a run for his money, and Thompson is a solid debater. He will tag Quinn as a clone of Bloomberg. How Quinn dances around the issue will be interesting, and just might decide who is the next mayor of NYC.
Hopefully the Democrats avoid the circular firing squad.