The race for Gracie Mansion is on: New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the early frontrunner, officially declared her candidacy for mayor early Sunday morning, releasing a slick, five-minute biographical video through her campaign's social media accounts.
"Today, I'm announcing -- making it official -- that I'm running for mayor of the City of New York," says a smiling Quinn in the video, seated at the counter at a diner. "You know, I'm running for mayor because I love this city. It is the greatest place in the world."
In the first half of the video, Quinn recounts her childhood growing up in Glen Cove, N.Y., on Long Island's North Shore -- including her mother's death from breast cancer when Quinn was just 16 years old. "My mother's life and death," Quinn says, fighting back tears, "left me with the belief that our obligation is to use every moment we have on this earth to make it a better place, to make other people's lives better, to make sure nobody is left behind because they might need a little more help."
The video moves to her campaign platform, emphasizing support for middle class New Yorkers. "I'm kicking off today our walk-and-talk tour," says Quinn, with the typical New York affectation on the words "walk" and "talk."
"Tell me what you want City Hall to do. Show me the hidden treasures of your neighborhood that I may not have gotten to see," Quinn says at the end of the video. "Put those sensible shoes on and come on out with us."
Sunday's announcement was only a formality: Quinn has been plotting a mayoral bid for more than a year. Following the 2011 resignation of disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., polls have shown Quinn leading the September Democratic primary. Last month, polls from Quinnipiac University and Marist College showed Quinn with 37 percent support, just shy of the 40 percent she would need to win the four-way primary without a runoff. But those polls also show that Quinn has greater name-ID than her opponents: Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu and former Comptroller Bill Thompson, who was the party's nominee four years ago.
Quinn's announcement also comes just a day before the end of the current campaign-finance period. All candidates will be required to file disclosure statements with the city's Campaign Finance Board by Friday. The four Democrats are considered likely to qualify for matching funds from the city. Those candidates will be limited to $6.4 million in primary spending if they choose to accept matching funds.
There are a number of historical aspects to Quinn's candidacy. She would be the first female mayor, if elected; she drew the early endorsement of EMILY's List, the group dedicated to electing Democratic women, despite the fact that Quinn hadn't officially declared she would run. Quinn would also be the city's first gay mayor, and she spoke about her time as the head of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project in the video.