Angry Voters Undermine Quinn's Power

Why is Christine all alone?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Council Speaker Christine Quinn won her primary but saw many allies go down on Tuesday.

    A few city council members lost their seats, some high-profile politicians barely kept them and other races were subject to recounts after an election featuring angry voters closed in on Speaker Christine Quinn's power base.

    Candidates attributed the electoral upheaval to New Yorkers' frustration over the council's decision to extend term-limits last year, the financial crisis and the political power struggle that brought Albany politics to a screeching halt for more than a month, according to the Daily News.

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

    Voters are still furious – 70 percent of them, a recent poll found -- about the political shenanigans that dominated the state Senate over the summer. That frustration has transcended the Senate chamber, seeping into the Assembly, and, perhaps, the City Council, as well.

    Quinn, a Manhattan Democrat, won re-election with barely 52 percent of the vote in her district. Prior to the election, insiders had said that if Quinn's primary opponent, Yetta Kurland, a virtual unknown, obtained at least 35 percent of the vote it would be embarrassing for the Speaker. Kurland ended up close to that threshold -- earning 31 percent of the vote and a big chunk of Quinn's support base.

    Quinn's endorsements also fell short this year; some candidates she supported lost and the ex-chief of staff of one of her political rivals, Brooklyn Democrat Vito Lopez, won, reports the News. On top of that, Lopez almost ousted longtime Quinn supporter Diana Reyna. He plans to challenge Reyna's 223-vote win over his candidate, Maritz Davila, according to the News

    Four incumbents in Quinn's court – Alan Gerson in Manhattan; Helen Sears in Jackson Heights; Kendall Stewart in Flatbush; and Kenneth Mitchell in North Shore – all lost their seats. Of those, Mitchell was the only one who didn't back the term-limits extension last October.

    Quinn may need to seek support in new avenues as she tries to renew her hold on the speakership by 2010 – and the hurt isn't over yet.

    There are two runoff elections on Sept. 29 – one for comptroller and the other for public advocate – prior to the general election on Nov. 3.