By Jonathan Lemire
April 14, 2013
Council Speaker Christine Quinn has attracted quite a few critics compared to her opponents in the mayoral race.
Joe Marino/New York Daily News
In a mayoral race that has yet to catch fire, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is energizing voters — but not always in the ways she planned.
Protesters dogged her at three events on Thursday. Twitter feeds bearing names like @DumpQuinn and @HerMajestyQuinn have sprung to life. And her opponents have taken their energy to Facebook.
“This thug needs to be kneecapped. Not literally, just figuratively,” one poster declared.
“Hopefully she’ll be run out of public office entirely by the time we’re through with her,” another added.
The Facebook page, Defeat Christine Quinn, has 2,170 “likes” — one of the many sites emerging on social media hoping to crush her mayoral dream.
Nine major candidates are running, but only Quinn has been generating such fury.
This is partly the result of her position as the front-runner, drawing attacks from nearly every other candidate.
It also reflects anger over her political migration from liberal activist to Council speaker, and the alliances she built with Mayor Bloomberg along the way, especially in working to overturn term limits so he could serve four more years.
“Moving to the political center is hardly unusual for a politician once they’re in office,” said Fordham University Prof. Christina Greer. “But it’s harder if you’re from [liberal] places like Chelsea and the West Village — you’re going to get more pushback.”
Her opponents say their movement is growing, online and on the streets.
One night last week, protestors followed Quinn at a candidates’ forum in Jackson Heights, Queens, at a speech to a Democratic club in Manhattan and outside her City Council office in Chelsea.
Documentary filmmaker Donny Moss spends nearly 60 hours a week targeting Quinn. He has spent $12,000 on anti-Quinn videos, posters and websites and oversees the Facebook page Defeat Chris Quinn and the Twitter feed @DefeatQuinn, which blasts out more than a dozen swipes a day.
“Five years ago never thought I’d dedicate so much of myself to hold one particular politician accountable,” said Moss.
Other anti-Quinn Facebook pages include Queers Against Christine Quinn and Impeach Speaker Christine Quinn.
The grassroots effort was joined last week by a Super PAC which launched the first ad in a $1 million “Anybody but Quinn” campaign.
Team Quinn dismisses the attacks as evidence of her success as a politician.
“Being a strong leader and getting results means making tough decisions that not everyone will agree with,” said campaign spokesman Mike Morey.
Gay rights activist and Quinn supporter Jon Wikleman called some of her critics “a bunch of crazies who would like to blame the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand on Quinn’s office."
Her unfavorable rating hit 24% in a new Quinnipiac Poll, from 18% in January. It is “a concern but it’s no time to panic,” said pollster Mickey Carroll.
But Quinn's critics — many who hail from her district — show no sign of letting up.
“She was a real activist, a street fighter, and then she became Mayor Bloomberg’s puppet,” said Allen Roskoff, a famed gay rights warrior.
If elected, Quinn would be the city’s first gay mayor. But the historic nature of her candidacy does little for some activists.
“Her identity is not enough,” said Louis Flores, who runs the “Queers Against Christine Quinn” Facebook page. “She’s not the one I want to see break that barrier.”