NEW YORK (AP) — Long seen as a leading contender, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn formally launched Sunday what she hopes will be a history-making mayoral bid.
A veteran of city politics, Quinn would be a groundbreaking mayor across two personal dimensions: She would be the first female and first openly gay mayor to lead the nation's largest city.
Announcing on Twitter that she's in the race, Quinn said she wanted to give middle- and working-class New Yorkers the same opportunities generations of her family got when they came here.
"I'm running for mayor because I love this city. It's the greatest place in the world," she said in a video linked to her post, before starting what she called a walk-and-talk tour intended to take her to every neighborhood in the city before the Democratic primary in September.
Her first stop was the upper Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood, where she was surrounded by supporters carrying signs that read "Christine Quinn for Mayor" and wearing baseball caps with her initials on them.
Before the walk, Quinn told reporters, "I'm running today and I'll stack my record against anybody else's in this field. ... I balance budgets on time, and I had the wisdom in the first three years I was speaker, when there were surpluses, to not spend that money."
Her attempts to meet the people led to a classic New York City moment.
She shook hands with everyone — people on the street, workers in a diner and even a bedraggled-looking man sitting on a sidewalk bench.
"Hi, I'm Christine Quinn and I'm running for mayor," she told the man, who looked up at her, seemingly puzzled.
"I need some change," he replied as she searched her pockets, saying, "I don't have any."
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 backing of Republican-turned-independent Bloomberg, and with it support from business leaders.
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