Thursday, September 17, 2009

Angry voters whittle down Speaker Christine Quinn's power base

Thursday, September 17th 2009, 4:00 AM

It may be a rough road ahead for Speaker Christine Quinn.
It may be a rough road ahead for Speaker Christine Quinn.

SEVERAL CITY COUNCIL members lost their seats, some high-ranking pols barely clung to office yesterday and others faced recounts after an election dominated by angry voters threatened to undermine Speaker Christine Quinn's rule.

Council candidates blamed the turmoil on New Yorkers' ire over last year's term-limits extension, the lousy economy and even the paralyzing power games in Albany.

"We were the first elected officials to have to face voter anger after all that," one Council insider said.

Quinn (D-Manhattan) won reelection with barely 52% of the vote in her district, while some candidates she backed lost - and the former chief of staff of a political enemy, Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez, won.

And Lopez nearly knocked off Quinn loyalist Diana Reyna. He intends to contest Reyna's 223-vote lead over his candidate, Maritza Davila.

Defeated incumbents on Quinn's team were lower Manhattan's Alan Gerson; Helen Sears in Jackson Heights, Queens; Kendall Stewart in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and Kenneth Mitchell in North Shore, Staten Island.

All but Mitchell, who wasn't around, voted to extend term limits last October.

Quinn might need to find new friends as she moves to renew her speakership by the New Year.

The mean season isn't over. There's a runoff on Sept. 29 for controller and public advocate, followed by the general election on Nov. 3.

Surviving public advocate hopefuls Mark Green and Councilman Bill de Blasio were at each other's throats yesterday, the first day of the runoff battle.

"You really can't trust someone as a watchdog over City Hall if they've been knee-deep in the slush fund scandal at City Hall," Green said.

De Blasio shot back that Green had an "unprecedented" record of waging negative campaigns.

In the controller's race, John Liu and runoff rival David Yassky questioned each other's qualifications.


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