Christine Quinn’s speech on Monday morning marked a turning point for the City Council Speaker as she struggles to maintain her status as the mayoral race’s decisive front-runner in the face of lagging poll numbers and former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s headline-hogging jump into the race.
In the address, Ms. Quinn, who up until now has tried to keep an above-the-fray approach, first focused on touting her Council record but soon switched into full attack mode, taking shots at her opponents and making the most overt comparison-based case yet of any candidate to voters about why she should be the city’s next mayor.
So why did she go negative in June?
She's slipping, that's why:
The move left several of Ms. Quinn’s rivals and other observers scratching their heads.
“The timing and the substance of the speech today confuse me. Front-runners generally don’t do speeches hyped up as them blasting their opponents,” said one Democratic consultant unaffiliated with any of the mayoral campaigns. “It makes me think that Quinn’s internal polling confirms what the public polling has found: the pack is catching up to her and now she has to try and define them negatively where before she could coast.”
Several rival campaign sources similarly speculated that Ms. Quinn’s team may have been spooked by a recent internal poll that perhaps showed her support continuing to tumble, instead of leveling out.
“I think it’s about trying to re-set because people are clearly beginning to take her down a couple of notches,” said one souce, who also pointed to the New York Times endorsement interviews happening this week. “I think the accomplishment thing is partially pitched at the Times endorsement.”
I would be very interested to see what Quinn's internal polling is showing.
Is Weiner catching up to her?
Has either de Blasio or Thompson or both made some moves?
The negative speech confirms one thing for me - she's no longer the front runner.
Could we get to a point in early summer where public polls start showing Quinn in second place?
We shouldn't have long to find out - the next slate are due soon.