Rivals of City Council Speaker and mayoral frontrunner Christine Quinn released their second attack ad Wednesday morning, this time slamming Ms. Quinn for failing to halt the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital.
The 30-second spot, courtesy of the new political committee New York City Is Not for Sale, begins with grainy images of an emergency room sign, a screaming ambulance and a gurney being rushed down a hospital hall.
“You don’t know when the next emergency is going to hit you or your family. Often the difference between life and death is measured in minutes, or even seconds,” says a narrator in an ominous voice.
Citing campaign contributions to Rudin Management Company, the ad accuses Ms. Quinn of turning her back on the hospital to help the developers out.
“After Christine Quinn took thousands of dollars from real estate developers who owned the property, she failed to keep St. Vincent’s open, leaving thousands of New Yorkers in need of medical care with nowhere to go,” it says, over video of a sad old woman with a cane sitting alone on a bench in the snow.
“When Christine Quinn allows the things that are most important to New Yorkers to disappear, how can you support her for mayor?” it asks.
New York Is Not for Sale launched earlier this month with the sole mission of insuring that “Anyone but Quinn” is elected mayor this fall.
The spot, which was produced by the Advance Group, is set to begin airing Wednesday on channels including NY1, Bravo and Oxygen as part of the group’s original $250,000 ad buy, a group spokeswoman said. They plan to spend $1 million over the course of the campaign.
Its founding members include the animal rights group New Yorkers for Clean Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS), Communications Workers of America union Local 1180 President Arthur Cheliotes and Wendy Neu, the CEO of Hugo Neu Corporation.
“The closing of St. Vincent’s hospital leaves a community out in the cold,” Mr. Cheliotes said in a statement. “Today’s new ad calls attention to a community where residents have nowhere to go in the event of an emergency or health crisis. Christine Quinn played an integral role in letting St. Vincent’s disappear and we cannot support a mayor who would let her donors dictate development at the sacrifice of our communities.”
Ms. Quinn was clearly ruffled by the group’s first ad, which painted her as a calculating politician willing to compromise her principles to get ahead. She called the ad a “disgrace” and her lawyers fired off a letter to Time Warner demanding they stop airing it, claiming that it included false statements, prompting ridicule from her rivals.
Update (12:40 p.m.): It turns out that there was an error in the ad. About 10 second in, writing on the screen claims that Quinn received $59,400 in campaign contributions from Rudin Management. But according to a spokesman for the New York City Campaign Finance Board, that’s not the case.
Thanks to a quirk in the board’s electronic database, some contributions given before term limits were extended happen to show up twice.
“Those contributions shouldn’t be counted twice,” explained spokesman Matt Sollars. In fact, employees of the company have contributed $29,700 to Ms. Quinn’s 2013 campaign, he said.
Kevin Finnegan, the political director of the powerful healthcare workers union, 1199 SEIU, also defended Quinn, saying there was nothing more she could have done to save the hospital from closing.
“Nobody fought harder to save St. Vincent’s than Christine Quinn,” he said. “I was in the middle of that fight from Day 1, and Chris Quinn was by my side the entire time, fighting much harder than anyone else. And to criticize her on that front is baseless. It’s absolutely baseless. It’s absurd.”
Update (1:31 p.m.): Quinn’s campaign spokesman Mike Morey adds:
Watch the ad below: