Quinn Urges Backers to Rally Around de Blasio

Christine Quinn at today's stated meeting.

Christine Quinn at today’s stated meeting.

Speaking for the first time since her concession speech following her devastating loss in the mayor’s race, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn asked her supporters to rally around the presumptive Democratic nominee, Bill de Blasio.

“Please rally behind the Democratic nominee as quickly as possible,” she told reporters at a press conference at City Hall, where she appeared upbeat–though clearly tired–two days after the loss.

Many of Ms. Quinn’s most prominent endorsers have already rallied around the public advocate, who has narrowly surpassed the crucial 40 percent needed to avoid a run-off. But thousands of paper ballots have yet to be counted, and second-place finisher rival Bill Thompson has repeatedly refused to concede until the votes have been tallied.

Ms. Quinn–flanked by many of her mayoral supporters, as well as some members who’d backed her opponents–declined to say whether she thought Mr. Thompson should step aside, but made clear she expects Mr. de Blasio to win the party’s nomination.

“That’s a decision for him to have to make,” she said. “I think clearly I’ve made very clear I’m gonna enthusiastically support the Democratic nominee. I think it’s clear to most folks that that person is going to be Bill de Blasio, but that’s a decision for Bill Thompson to make himself.”

Asked why she thought Mr. de Blasio had won so decisively and why she, the former front-runner ended the night with just 15.5 percent of the vote, Ms. Quinn said she’d leave the post-election analysis to another day.

“Well, I think what happens is that it appears that Bill de Blasio won,” she said with a laugh. “And now it’s time to move onto the general election … There’s plenty of times for post-mortems and looking back and things like that, but I’m here today as speaker,” she said, referring to two pieces of legislation the council was set to pass.

Ms. Quinn also took issue with the idea that there was something fundamental about the city that stacked the field against female candidates.

“New York City is not incapable of electing a woman mayor. They have not yet elected a woman mayor,” she insisted, adding that she was confident the day would come soon. “There will be an amazing day where history gets made in this city and it will raise all of us higher. It hasn’t happened yet,” she said. “That will happen and it will happen soon.”

Still, the speaker, who will hold her post until the end of the calendar year, said she hoped to get a “significant”  chunk of her mayoral campaign’s agenda passed while she holds office, but declined to present her priories, explaining that she wanted to discuss them with her colleagues first.

Councilman Lew Fidler, who endorsed Mr. Thompson, said that council members had made a special effort to appear by Ms. Quinn’s side at what several described as very difficult time for the Speaker.

“It was a very conscious decision that numbers of us made. This had to be a very difficult moment. She came up like the professional she is, and we wanted to stand with her, whether we were supporting her mayoral campaign or supporting Bill Thompson or somebody else. We were all there because we knew it was tough for her,” he said.

As for what Ms. Quinn will do next, she simply said, “There’ll be another chapter but I haven’t started to write it up.”