Quinn doesn’t win; Voters want a change of direction

Christine Quinn about five minutes into her concession speech at the Dream Hotel in Chelsea on Tuesday night.

Christine Quinn about five minutes into her concession speech at the Dream Hotel in Chelsea on Tuesday night.

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON  |  Christine Quinn’s dream of becoming mayor ended at the Dream Hotel in Chelsea on Tuesday night. About an hour and a half after the polls closed — and after President Obama’s speech on Syria was shown live on the flat-screens arrayed around the room — early results of the Democratic primary election began to display on the TV’s.

Within an hour, Quinn would take the stage to congratulate “Bill Thompson and Bill de Blasio on their victories,” in that order, though she remained upbeat in defeat.

Once the prohibitive favorite, the local candidate, who has represented the Village and Chelsea in the City Council since 1999 — and been the Council’s speaker since 2006 — finished a disappointing third, taking 16 percent of the citywide vote. de Blasio romped with 40 percent and Thompson got 26 percent, and it could be a week before it’s known if there will be a runoff between the two in three weeks.

Finally, around 11:15 p.m., Larry Quinn, her 87-year-old father, walking with a cane, led the way up onto the stage to chants of “Mis-ter Quinn! Mis-ter Quinn!” from the candidate’s supporters. Following him up were Christine Quinn’s wife, Kim Catullo, and Quinn’s sister, Ellen, and her husband and Catullo’s relatives. With her family and in-laws arrayed around her, Quinn took the podium.

“In with Quinn!” “In with Quinn!” the crowd chanted for one last time.

Quinn thanked her volunteers for their hard work and thanked all the elected officials and unions who supported her.

After congratulating de Blasio and Thompson, she said, “We all share the common goal — greater opportunities for New Yorkers in every neighborhood.”

She started to say she was disappointed at the election results as a way to segue into positives to be taken away from the experience, but her supporters started shouting out encouragements.

“You’re not done! You’re not done!” they chanted.

“Governor!” someone yelled out.

Quinn said her candidacy has inspired young girls to envision running for higher office and to say to themselves, “I can do this.” Similarly, she said, L.G.B.T. youth can take strength from her campaign effort and realize, “They’re not alone.”

At the end of her remarks, she embraced Catullo in an emotional hug, then kissed her on the cheek.

As the crowd was filing out of the room, former Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger told The Villager, “This one I’m very sad about; Gale Brewer I’m very happy about.”

Brewer — who has a deep track record as a progressive, and got her start years ago as Messinger’s chief of staff — won the B.P. primary with 40 percent of the vote. Julie Menin, former chairperson of Lower Manhattan’s Community Board 1, despite a well-financed campaign and a barrage of glossy mailings, finished fourth with 17 percent. Jessica Lappin took 24 percent and Robert Jackson 19 percent.

Also in the crowd was Melissa Sklarz, a transgender woman who is president of Stonewall Democratic Club and a former member of Community Board 2.

“We did all we could,” she said of the Quinn effort. “I think she would have been a great mayor — I like tough Democrats.”

Joe Clementi and his son James were also at the Dream Hotel to show their support for Quinn’s historic bid to be the city’s first openly gay mayor. The father and brother of Tyler Clementi — the Rutgers student who leaped from the George Washington Bridge three years ago after his roommate spied on him and a lover with a webcam — they said Quinn’s candidacy offered a message of hope.

“We support her as a friend,” said James Clementi, 27, who like Tyler, is gay. “And the message that electing her would send to young people and L.G.B.T. people of hope, and letting them know they can aspire to the highest ranks of society, and they can achieve all their dreams because there are no glass ceilings.”

Leaving the Dream Hotel, George Cominskie, president of the Westbeth Artists Residents Council, a big Quinn booster, took a shot at de Blasio.

“I’m very disappointed. Do nothing and promise everything and get elected,” he said of the public advocate, who has a far thinner record of getting things done in government than Quinn.

“I know what it’s like when you’re in a position of authority,” he said. “It’s not easy.”

As his partner, John Turner, gave him a hug, Cominskie said they had hoped a Mayor Quinn would marry them, but that they’ll still probably ask her to do the honors.

Right before Quinn gave her concession speech, The Villager received a text message: “I won.”

It was Arthur Schwartz, the Village’s Democratic state committeeman, who on Tuesday unseated Jon Geballe to reclaim the party post of district leader, which like state committee is unpaid.

Schwartz got 49 percent of the vote, Geballe 36 percent and Deley Gazinelli 15 percent.

Geballe had won the post in a County Committee election in February, filling the spot left vacant when Brad Hoylman resigned after winning election to the state Senate, filling the seat of Tom Duane, last September. Geballe was backed by the Village Independent Democrats club and had the support of local elected officials. But Schwartz had a long track record of community activism, strong advertising, and a late endorsement by de Blasio.

Schwartz hailed Quinn’s loss — and his own victory — as a watershed moment.

“This is really one of the major turning points in the Village,” Schwartz told The Villager the day after his victory, “because the Duane / Quinn period that started in 1991 when Duane was first elected is over. The Village Independent Democrats — by my beating their candidate — it marks a real low point in their existence.

“It’s a new era without Quinn and Duane on the scene. Quinn was basically the boss for the last 10 years,” Schwartz added. “And having a new borough president, Gale Brewer, who’s very progressive and proactive [also changes the political landscape],” he added.

Of course, Schwartz has an ax to grind with Quinn and Duane, who in 2005 told Schwartz to “step aside” and vacate the district leadership so that Hoylman could have it, helping set Hoylman up for what was then expected to be a City Council run for Quinn’s seat this year.

Feeling his oats on Wednesday, Schwartz said of his longtime political sparring partner, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, “And maybe it’s time for Deborah Glick to retire. She’s been in there 23 years. She endorsed Quinn, she endorsed Menin, she made a big deal about Geballe.”

As for how he’ll now work with the district’s female leader, Keen Berger — who badly wanted Geballe to win — Schwartz said, “It’s time for Keen to go, too. In two years, she’ll have 12 years [as district leader] and she should call it a day.”

In that case, Schwartz was asked, maybe Berger should just step down right now?

“Oh, she should leave now, as far as I’m concerned,” he agreed. “She has good work to do on [the new school at] 75 Morton St. I don’t know if she has to be the district leader to do it.”

Berger told The Villager, “I already e-mailed congratulations to Arthur this morning, and I look forward to working with him. We have not figured out exactly how we are going to work together. I’m happy to be the district leader of the Village, and I’m sure I can work with him.”

Calls to Glick and Tony Hoffman, president of V.I.D., were not returned by press time.

Schwartz said he checked the polls around the Village on Election Day and de Blasio won more than 50 percent everywhere. Also, Gale Brewer was the overwhelming favorite for borough president in the Village, he said. No one voted for Liu he said, even though Liu had emerged as the early “anti-Quinn” for the local Democratic political clubs.

For one of the reasons why Quinn didn’t resonate better in her own district, one need have looked no farther than voters exiting the polling sites on the New York University superblocks in the South Village, where the N.Y.U. 2031 mega-development plan to add 2 million square feet of new construction was approved by the City Council last year.

Heléne Denton, a retired accountant who lives on Mercer St., said, “I voted for Bill Thompson. I voted against Chris Quinn. I voted against [Councilmember] Margaret Chin, because they sold us out to N.Y.U. and they let St. Vincent’s close. They didn’t fight. They all backed the real estate people. Now that they need the Village, they want our votes — but they weren’t there when the Village people needed help.

“If Quinn gets in, I will support Lhota,” she declared.

CUNY professor Rosalyn Baxandall, 74, who lives on one of the university’s superblocks, said, “I mainly voted against: People who betrayed us on N.Y.U. and the expansion into the Village. I voted for Jenifer R-A-J-kumar,” she said, having to spell out Chin’s opponent’s name a bit before she could pronounce it. “And I voted for Bill de Blasio for mayor because I thought he’d be best for the schools, and he seems to have more of a campaign for the 99 percent — at least he says.

“Even though I’m a feminist and support gay rights,” she said, “I couldn’t vote for Quinn.”

Later on, outside P.S. 3 on Hudson St., as the polls were getting ready to close, one woman, a retired jewelry maker originally from Ecuador, said she wished she could have voted for Anthony Weiner for mayor.

“You know, he was my favorite — the congressman,” she said. “Let me tell you, he is very, very smart. But he do this stupid thing! Where is his brain? What this garbage? It’s crazy. Such this brain — for nothing!”

No City Council speaker has ever been elected mayor. Before Quinn, Gifford Miller and Peter Vallone, Sr. both went down to defeat in the Democratic mayoral primary.

What comes next for Quinn wasn’t immediately known. However, at one point, she seemed to stress the word “labor” very distinctly when she was thanking her supporters.

In the end, Schwartz said, agreeing with many other pundits, that Quinn was “too identified with Bloomberg. We live in one of the wealthiest communities in the city — but liberal wealthy,” he said of the Village. “And people wanted to see a change. And she was not going to be the change. de Blasio got himself arrested, he went to court, he got two hospitals from closing.”

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14 Responses to Quinn doesn’t win; Voters want a change of direction

  1. This is actually a great election for Voters. They showed that you can not overturn their will and get away with it. Good for them! It will make politicians think twice before they ever do something like overturning Term Limits.

    I already hear Quinn folks saying it was because she was a woman; it was because she's gay. It was none of that! I had been planning for years to vote for Quinn, but after the Term Limits debacle, she lost my vote. And I'm not even in favor of Term Limits. But that's what the people want, and their will – shown at the ballot box – should never be overturned. They have the right to be wrong.

    This week the NYC Voters won. Sorry for Quinn, but she, and the politicians that follow her, should learn a big lesson here.

  2. "“This is really one of the major turning points in the Village,” Schwartz told The Villager the day after his victory, “because the Duane / Quinn period that started in 1991 when Duane was first elected is over. The Village Independent Democrats — by my beating their candidate — it marks a real low point in their existence."

    Schwartz has a point.

  3. Village Parent PS41

    If Arthur Schwartz won, why is he so bitter? How ungrateful. Show some class Arthur

    • Is he being classless, or is he making a brutally honest (and informed and overdue) comment on the current political landscape in the Village? I hope people will weigh in on this one thoughtfully, as it is a sea change.

      My personal feeling? The thing no one seems willing to say out loud. I think Schwartz has a legitimate ax to grind, albeit with a twist. The outgoing cabal engineered Senator Hoylman's ascendancy starting with that Schwartz moment. And in this last two years? A resignation and a quick election? Timed perfectly for getting their preferred candidate into, not just the Council, but by choice not genuinely dictated by the electorate in a normal elective course, into the State Senate. What was different about this than Quinn legislatively eliminating term limits? It was opportunist, there is no argument. It simply happened too fast for the voters of this area to have real say, and a healthy debate. On the positive side, we all feel we have a young, top flight senator, an asset and a gentleman, but let's face it, for the voter, it's sheer luck that Hoylman is the dedicated public servant he is. It could just as easily have been someone else, and we truly had little say. The way it happened will linger, so he very much has something to prove. I believe having Schwartz in that position softens the blow, and offers checks and balances we in the Village would not have otherwise.

      On balance, I think the Village just took a deep breath and loosened the grip of much more than just the mayoral vice. He asked out loud where do we go from here locally. For me, that means this community should start planning for the future of our Assembly District, with a progressive and active primary challenger to Glick, someone with her progressive cred, but with a far more imaginative and "early action" proactive bent when it comes to fighting the largest battles. We need a visionary, as the fights to come will be even harder. Hospital, Pier 40, Trinity, NYU, school-space, tidal surges and adequate preparation, aging straight and gay Villagers. We are not out ahead of these dangers.

      Few, certainly not me, argue with the consistently good results on progressive issues of Assemblymember Glick, but for me, and I have said it here many times, that is not the problem. The problem is the penchant for recklessly fighting "win completely or lose everything" battles (and late in the game at that) on issues like Saint Vincents, when there is possibility for steering the community toward early compromise. That also means coming up with solutions instead of waiting around for the ill defined "community consensus". People do like their leaders to have ideas. We can't always fight until the end on principle, but lose 100% of the battle, 100% of the hospital, 100% of the level 1 trauma center. The end result? A loss is a loss, and a crushing blow like a hospital where there was statehouse potential for solutions means EVERYONE must be held accountable.

      And when the single best idea for Pier 40 by Assemblymember Glick turned out to be helping to SECRETLY write a bill behind the backs of this community, which allows the Hudson River Park Trust the right to sell/transfer air rights reaching into our backyard, she revealed herself as a member in good standing of the outgoing machine. They are gone for a reason. And now she deserves a challenger, who will at the very least, push her to limits we have yet to see.

      The saddest part of this election for me? Not a single candidate for any office, had the guts to get into the game on the Pier 40 issue. Which puts Pier 40 right about where Saint Vincent's was when it was already clear that bankruptcy was a foregone conclusion.

      Air rights transfers are Glick's equivalent of condos to Rudin, and a promise of a medical drop in center. There is no question in my mind it will not bear fruit enough to save Pier 40, the single largest community asset currently endangered.

  4. Schwartz is a bit old to be wishing retirement on anyone. His role in Closure of St V is a secret.

  5. I'm very sorry that Margaret Chin won, because she favors the big developers. Her win seems inconsistent with the overall direction the voters were taking, it seems to me. I also voted for Yetta Kurland because she fought so hard for St. Vincent's Hospital, and still fights for a new hospital to take its place. Well, the future will be very interesting, and although it will be hard for any of the politicians to live up to their liberal promises because of the movers and shakers in this town, I think we should get some good new changes. Glick has been good about some things and not so good on others; she's not as liberal as she can appear to be in general.

  6. Congratulations to Keen Berger as Female District Leader!

    • Ms. Berger won because she had NO opponent, no contest. What's to congratulate?

      Her male counterpart from V.I.D., current district leader Jonathan Geballe, got trounced by Arthur Schwartz.

      Furthermore, Geballe only was a district leader because of a special election this spring, which was closed to voters and opened only to party insiders of the NY Democratic county committee, which VID controls.

      If this sounds like Tammany Hall (which the old VID vanquished in the Village 50 years ago), it is.

      Furthermore, V.I.D.'s mayoral choice, John Liu, got only 3% in the Village, V.I.D.'s base.

      VID is a legend in its own mind. Don't believe the hype.

  7. Quinn lied to 2 days before she organized the vote for NYC Council to approve on the Rudin Plan to build Luxury Apartments, on St Vincent's hospital property. The meeting was with Greenwich Village residents and Norman Siegel, attorney. It was that lie that cost a friendship and support for her to be Mayor. It had nothing to do with her being a female, being a lesbian, or any other group she belongs to. You don't get thousands of dollars in donations from a Real Estate Builder and then exchange a kiss of death from William Rudin at a meeting, and not loose support from the community you are supposed to represent.

  8. When it comes to development Margaret Chin is no different from Christine Quinn's mini-me,Corey Johnson.

  9. Arthur–It's important not to be a sore winner.

  10. The lesson from this election is that our politicians need to take care of their constituents, because if they take their base for granted they will pay the price. Also, any narcissism will be severely punished on election day.

    Chris Quinn lost Greenwich Village and Chelsea by 15 points to de Blasio because she assumed her own district would vote for her, in spite of St. Vincent's closing, overturning term limits, her crush on Bloomberg, NYU's plan to bulldoze the village, and many other quality of life issues she neglected to address. In the end even the gay vote wasn't there for her because she wasn't there for them. She narcissistically assumed she could do whatever she pleased and her base would follow. They followed de Blasio instead.

    Bill Thompson lost Harlem by 10 points and the total black vote citywide to de Blasio because he spent the last four years between elections actually acting a lot like Bloomberg; becoming an investment banker, summering in the Hamptons and eating at his favorite sushi restaurant on Irving Place. Even though his daughter lives in Stuy Town he could no longer connect with middle class people, and he just assumed his base would be there for him. It is telling that his biggest support was in the white portions of Staten Island, so maybe it's time for him to change parties.

    John Liu won the Asian vote in Elmhurst and Chinatown and everywhere else, because he paid attention to his base and was always there for them. Hopefully he will use his skills to broaden his appeal in the future, if so he will be the one to watch next time around.

    Anthony Weiner proved that narcissism is not an endearing quality, and being a lying, perverted, unhinged narcissist is even less attractive. He was the biggest loser as he went from the early frontrunner to the punchline of a joke no one is laughing about anymore. He didn't need an election as much as he needed a marriage counselor. Like many I was willing to forgive and support him at first, but his atrocious handling of his personal affairs and his arrogant treatment of the press reminded me more of a Tea Party candidate than the progressive he used to be.

    In the end Bill de Blasio was the only one who got it, on stop and frisk, on affordable housing, on our Bloomberg fatigue, and on taxing the rich to fund our schools. Bloomberg thinks the solution to all our problems is more Russian Billionaires, and that higher taxes will just scare them away. As if the rich have ever been scared away by the high price of living that they themselves helped create.

    Are the rich really going to leave NYC and the multi-million dollar condo they just bought over a few thousand dollars in extra taxes? Where are they going to go, back to Russia? Or New Jersey? How's the view of Central Park from over there?

    Bill De Blasio won because he gives us hope for a fairer city, with his smart interracial family, and with his progressive agenda, which is why he he won on his opponents turf.

    Bloomberg's last gasp insult of accusing de Blasio of racism for using his son Dante in the best campaign ad in decades reminded us all why we are tired of the billionaire who thinks he knows better than everyone just because he has more money. Democracy isn't about telling people what to do, it's about honest representation of the people, listening and caring about them, and imposing their will on society and not your own. That's why de Blasio won this round and will be the next Mayor of NYC.

  11. Is it true Quinn is moving to Provincetown to start a bed & breakfast. My friends there hope not. They have more than enough.

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