A former New York City mayoral candidate has lashed out at Cynthia Nixon a day after she announced she would challenge Mario Cuomo in September’s Democratic primary.
Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn referred to the Sex and the City actress as an “unqualified lesbian” in a Tuesday interview with the New York Post. Quinn, who is married to a woman, took issue with Nixon for supporting her opponent Bill de Blasio in the 2013 mayoral race. De Blasio won the election, while Quinn didn’t make it out of the primaries.
“I’m surprised by this race,” she told the Rupert Murdoch-owned paper on Tuesday. “It’s a flight of fancy on her part.”
“Cynthia Nixon was opposed to having a qualified lesbian become mayor of New York City,” Quinn continued. “Now she wants to be an unqualified lesbian to be the governor of New York. You have to be qualified and have experience. She isn’t qualified to be the governor.”
“Being an actress and celebrity doesn’t make you qualified for public office,” she added.
When Nixon announced she would be endorsing the incumbent mayor over his Democratic opponent in 2013, the two-time Emmy-winner claimed Quinn’s sexual orientation didn’t factor into her decision.
“To me, identity politics is not really where it’s at,” she said, citing de Blasio’s policies on family sick leave as swaying her vote.
If elected, Nixon would be New York’s first female governor, as well as the first LGBTQ person to occupy the office. The 51-year-old, who wed Christine Marinoni in 2012, has dated men and women in the past but told The Huffington Post she prefers not to label her sexual orientation.
Nixon faces a tough road, however, if she hopes toshatter these glass ceilings.
A Siena College survey released the day of her announcement shows the incumbent governor leads Nixon by nearly 50 points in the race. Cuomo, who has served for two terms and controls a $30 million war chest to ensure he’s voted in for a third, would win with 66 percent of the vote if the Democratic primary were held today. Nixon would finish with just 19 percent.
Cuomo has largely dismissed Nixon’s candidacy. On a February call with reporters, he joked that “either the mayor of New York or Vladimir Putin” was responsible for her campaign.
His office has made it clear they will continue to make an issue of her Hollywood pedigree in the race.
“Democratic primary voters have made it clear that they have no interest in celebrity candidates,” longtime Cuomo pollster Jefrey Pollock told the New York Times. “They are looking for proven experience to take the fight to Donald Trump and to Republicans across the state.”
While Quinn applauded Cuomo for backing $15 minimum wage and opposing fracking in the state, Nixon signaled she will take on the governor for decades-long mismanagement of the NYC subway systemwhich has left the MTA largely in disrepair. Rampant delays have led to trains so packed that passengers have been forced to ride between train cars.
“We want our government to work again on healthcare, ending mass incarceration, fixing our broken subway,” Nixon said in a Monday campaign video. “We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us.”
In response to Quinn’s criticisms on Tuesday, Nixon dismissed them as missing the point: “Her being a lesbian and my being a lesbian,” she told the Post.
“It’s time for an outsider,” Nixon claimed. “I’m not an Albany insider.”
Photo via TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images