For those of us who were militant Christine Quinn supporters the results last night were the cause of great sadness. The Speaker of the City Council has given so much to the city, the LGBT community and progressive politics that it was hard to see her lose so profoundly in the election results. Having known Quinn for years, she is one of the finest public servants in this city, in fact almost anywhere, who has dedicated her life to making life for others better.
In many ways, this race reminded me of the Hillary Clinton and Obama race in 2008. Clinton with a distinguished record was the clear frontrunner and was running on experience. Obama was the long shot who became the agent of change. Voters, even though they admired Clinton, wanted change and embraced Obama.
Supporting Quinn for me was an honor and a very proud moment for me. I started supporting her in her first council race when I sent a check. She is an incredibly talented, progressive and kind human being. We can only hope New York can find ways or perhaps even President Obama to use those talents and that experience.
The campaign against Quinn was ugly and at times hateful. She deserved better than that strident hateful rhetoric. In fact, no one deserves that kind of vitriolic directed toward them. Her entire career has been devoted to helping others. Of course, people had differences and they should always feel free to express them with passion and concern but not with ugliness.
As a result, the Democratic Party will have to work hard to build a unified party going into November.
Fortunately neither Bill de Blasio or William Thompson engaged in that campaign of ugliness. They both are incredible progressive people who have also served this city with distinction and represent change. At this moment, it appears that there will not be a run off but it is so close and thousands of ballots need to be counted.
If there is a run off, Quinn supporters will have a tough decision to make over the next three weeks. If the Democratic Party can proceed into November without a run off, let the healing process begin and let's get our act together to bring back a progressive Democratic Mayor. The Republicans are already gearing up with big bucks to defeat progressive politics in the city.
There was much to cheer about yesterday.
First and foremost, openly gay activist Corey Johnson won a seat on the city council. He not only won but he beat his opponent but beat her by over 25 points! Johnson will be a magnificent addition to the City Council and be a strong advocate and fighter for LGBT rights. His entire life has been as an activist fighting the good fight and there is no question that spirit will carry into the council.
Equally exciting is that another openly gay progressive Carlos Menchaca defeated incumbent Councilwomen Sara Gonzalez in Brooklyn by an amazing 15%. Carlos is a community activist who organized an amazing relief effort in the Red Hook area after Hurricane Sandy when government was slow to respond. Carlos becomes one of the first Mexican-Americans to serve on the New York City Council. The mild manner talented young man will be a powerful advocated for progressive causes.
Unfortunately, our efforts to elect the first Transgender candidate to New York City Council fell short. Mel Wymore placed a close second in his race for City Council. Mel gained admiration and respect across the city as a serious political force and we can expect more great things from him.
As with all elections, there are winners and losers. The future of New York City is now on the table and no matter how we feel about the results we must put our city first. Both Bill de Blasio and William Thompson are incredible men with great hearts. New York is indeed fortunate to have them both as leaders.