Volume 73, Number 6 | June 9 - 15, 2004

V.I.D. prez. considered run at Quinn

By Lincoln Anderson

Until the end of last week, Chad Marlow, president of Village Independent Democrats, was considering running against City Councilmember Christine Quinn in 2005. However, by Monday he had decided against it. The Village clubs have also now agreed to a truce — though Marlow claims his not running and the club “détente” are two separate issues and that the one didn’t necessarily lead to the other.

“I’m exploring the possibility. Yes,” Marlow told The Villager last Friday, when asked about the rumor that he was going to run for the Council. “I am just in the process of speaking to people. This is very initial. There has to be a real groundswell of support for me to run, because the system is so stacked against incumbents.”

If that groundswell ever came, Marlow, a 32-year-old attorney, was more than ready. He said for the past nine months a team of his supporters had been going over Quinn’s voting record “in excruciating detail — We are in possession of and have thoroughly analyzed every piece of campaign literature she put out when she ran [in past races].” For example, Marlow noted, in ’99 Quinn called recycling her number one environmental issue, then voted to cut back recycling. He also said he never would have approved a property tax hike, as Quinn did.

Unlike Quinn, Marlow isn’t homosexual, a potentially serious detriment running in the Third District, the Council’s supposedly “gay seat.” “I think Chris has done a very admirable job on L.G.B.T. [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] issues,” he allowed.

Marlow said he first needed to find out if there was support for his candidacy. On Friday, he e-mailed a fundraising request to political friends asking for contributions to conduct a poll to see if Third District voters might welcome a second candidate in the primary.

By Monday, however, Marlow had decided he’s definitely not running. Now that the local Democratic clubs, for once, are not going to battle over county committee seats this September, he said he wants to take advantage of it and work together to achieve common goals. In an e-mail, Marlow said: “At the conclusion of last week, while my consideration [of running] was ongoing, I was able to negotiate an agreement between the various political factions Downtown to cooperate in the 2004 primary…a critically important development that will allow us to turn our immediate attention to defeating George W. Bush and electing John Kerry in November. Unity of this strength and completeness has not been seen Downtown in over a decade,” he boasted, calling it equivalent to “Downtown détente.”

Because of the lack of any contests, voters going to the booths on Primary Day in the 66th Assembly District could well face a “blank ballot,” Marlow said, though Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, on the district’s East Side may have a challenger.

In short, the eight judicial delegate seats up for election in the primary will be split four ways: getting two seats each will be V.I.D., Village Reform Democratic Club, Downtown Independent Democrats and Lower Manhattan Alliance for Progressive Political Action. State Senator Tom Duane, who is part of LaMAPPA, played a key role, according to Marlow and others, who said the deal couldn’t have been pulled off without Duane’s participation. Sean Sweeney of D.I.D., also is said to have played an important role in the talks. There was also a pledge to not challenge the Democratic state committee members, Larry Moss and Rachel Lavine.

Last Friday, asked about Marlow’s mulling a run, Quinn said, “I think the primary process is a very important part of the democratic process,” noting she would never discourage a challenge. To Marlow’s criticisms, she said recycling cuts and property tax hikes were some of the tough choices necessitated in dire budget times after 9/11, in order, for example, to keep open senior centers and childcare programs. As for Team Marlow’s research, she commented, “I think they could probably find better bedtime reading — but I welcome scrutiny of my record.”

Marlow did not say who the members of his research team are.

At Marlow’s announcement Monday that he’s not running, Quinn said, “I’m heartened Chad is deciding to focus on more pressing races — taking back the White House and City Hall — [and] throw his own political ambitions aside for the moment.”

Brad Hoylman, president of Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats, said he was glad Marlow wasn’t going to challenge Quinn, especially since, in his view, Quinn is one of the Council’s outstanding members.

Chairperson of the Council’s Health Committee, Quinn is one of at least nine names being mentioned as candidates for Speaker after Gifford Miller is term-limited out of the Council. “I would certainly like to expand my leadership role in the Council and will look at any opportunities,” Quinn said.

Marlow said any phone calls he may have gotten over the weekend from politicos did not affect his decision on whether to run.

Arthur Schwartz, head of LaMAPPA, also said he’s happy Marlow decided not to run for Council and that he hopes to work over the coming year to heal the rift between V.I.D. and LaMAPPA and bring the two clubs back together.

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