Polls show City Council Speaker Christine Quinn with a significant lead over her Democratic opponents in the race for mayor. But despite her strong position, she is being careful about her relationship with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, working to ensure she is not viewed as his close ally as she heads deeper into the primary battle. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows City Council Speaker Christine Quinn with a significant lead over the rest of the Democratic field for mayor. She is even nearing the 40 percent target she would need to hit in the September primary to avoid a runoff election for her party's nomination.
"There will be countless polls between now and the election, and they'll go up and they'll go down," Quinn said. "I am just mostly focused on getting more than 40 votes on each of the pieces of legislation when we go upstairs."
Jokes aside, Quinn has a tough job ahead of her as the primary heats up. She has forged a close working relationship with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a relationship that may serve her well in a general election but could prove to be a liability in the Democratic primary.
That dynamic is forcing her to tread carefully when it comes to the mayor. On the one hand, she does not want to offend Bloomberg. On the other, she needs to show she is independent and not afraid to challenge him.
At a mayoral forum this week, Quinn avoided open attacks on the Bloomberg administration as other Democratic candidates went out of their way to rip apart Bloomberg's record.
She is not shying away, however, from legislative battles with the other side of City Hall. On Wednesday, the council overwhelmingly approved legislation that takes aim at the city's fines for street vendors. They are fines that the mayor supports.
"We are responding in a balanced way to hard-working people saying, "Make the rules clearer, because we want to follow them, but don't make the fines so high that they put us out of business," Quinn said.
The council bill would cut the maximum fine for vendors in half, from $1,000 dollars to $500.
The mayor denounced the proposal last week.
"I think reducing the fines is one of the stupider things I've ever heard," the mayor said last Thursday.
Bloomberg is expected to veto the legislation, but Quinn said she has the votes to override it.