City council veteran, Christine Quinn, announces bid for New York mayor

Democrat Christine Quinn, the city council speaker in New York City, announced Sunday she will run for mayor. If elected, Quinn would be the first female and the first openly gay mayor of New York.

Seth Wenig/AP/File
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn laughs during a news conference at City Hall in New York in May 2012. Quinn, a Democrat, announced through her Twitter feed Sunday that she's in the race to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

A veteran of New York City politics formally launched Sunday what she hopes will be a history-making mayor bid: She would be the first female and first openly gay mayor to lead the largest US city.

Democratic City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced through her Twitter feed that she's in the race, saying she wanted to give middle- and working-class New Yorkers the same opportunities generations of her family got when they came to New York.

A former tenant organizer and director of a gay and lesbian advocacy group, Quinn, 46, has been on the City Council since 1999 and its leader since 2006. The position has afforded her considerable exposure going into the crowded field of candidates vying to succeed term-limited Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

She's enjoyed a considerable edge over other Democratic contenders in polls. A Quinnipiac University poll late last month gave her 37 percent of the Democratic vote, while her opponents each got less than 15 percent. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 6 to 1 in the city, though that hasn't translated into Democratic success in a mayor's race since 1989.

Quinn has generally been perceived as likely to get the Republican-turned-independent Bloomberg's backing, and with it support from business leaders.

Some of her Democratic opponents have tried to use that against her, suggesting Quinn is too close to a mayor they say has sometimes turned a cold shoulder to the concerns of middle-class and working-class New Yorkers. Opponents have faulted her, for example, for joining Bloomberg in opposing a plan to require businesses with at least five employees to provide paid sick leave. Quinn has said it's a worthy goal, but now is not the economic time to do it.

She also has taken heat for helping Bloomberg get the council to agree to extend term limits so he could run for a third time in 2008, without asking the voters who had approved a two-term limit twice in the 1990s.

In office, Quinn leads 50 other council members and largely controls what proposals come to a vote.

Quinn and her longtime partner, products liability lawyer Kim Catullo, married last year after more than a decade together.

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