It’s been a bad couple months for Christine Quinn. Within the span of her brief, passionate, and ultimately unsuccessful mayoral campaign, she accrued a gradual yet eventually damning pile of epithets, slurs and internet ramblings that initially, she could ignore. Her bid for mayor seemed charmed early on: as City Council speaker under Bloomberg, she has a long track record for getting shit done, whether passing consistent, reasonable budgets for the city or saving 4,000 teachers from being laid off. Plus, she happens to be a lesbian with a slick helmet of fox-red hair and a nice wife and, so the New York Times picked their winner and hopped on board to film a documentary about her potentially revolutionary scrabble for the top.
“In saying I would do [the documentary], I was really reaffirming my belief that we were going to win,” says Quinn in the opening moments of the film. In a word: oof. “Hers to Lose” is a brief 30 minutes, but since we know you’re too busy trying to figure out Dylan Sprouse’s hours at Mud, we’ve narrowed down the good stuff just for you.
1:40: Quinn rocks out to “Born to Run” with her wife in the backseat of a black Suburban on the way to an unspecified rally/interview/fabulous dinner party. It’s adorable.
5:20: During the first primary debate, Bill De Blasio brings up Quinn’s past indiscretion which becomes the proverbial wrench in her gears: “a back room deal which defied the Democratic will of the people.” He’s referring to Quinn’s decision to back a bill that overturned the term restrictions on elected officials, allowing herself and Bloomberg the opportunity to run for office again (which they both did, successfully). This decision will haunt her campaign in the form of hecklers and beleaguered citizens with Bloomberg hangovers who eventually become the voting majority, propelling De Blasio to the forefront of the race. Quinn wears a pink dress and jacket to the debate, a sartorial decision which complimented her skin perfectly and which naturally everybody lost their fucking minds over.
8:45: During a rally at the Stonewall Inn, arguably the single most important symbol for the inception of the gay liberation rights movement of the 1960’s and 70’s, Thomas Duane, a former New York senator, calls Quinn a “big dyke” while in the process of endorsing her. Cut to shot of Quinn’s wife and her advisors in various poses of extreme discomfort.
9:20: “She is terrible. She is really a snake,” a contingent of beard-stroking Hasidic Jewish men from Williamsburg weighs in. Harsh.
11:50: Mitchell Moss, a professor of Urban Planning at NYU and New York City expert, introduces us to the fascinating phenomenon of the ABQ Group — “Anyone But Quinn.” Their vehement (read: sorta crazypants) opposition is based around animal rights activism, an extremely lucrative and visible weapon against Quinn’s moderate political stance on, of all things, the horse-drawn carriages in Central Park. They dress in red shirts and yell at Quinn while she’s making speeches and are generally pretty rude.
18:45: De Blasio makes the rounds with his spectacularly afroed and prematurely wise son Dante, who was featured heavily in his dad’s massively successful campaign ads. (De Blasio’s awesome wife Chirlane bolstered things as well). Moss explains that De Blasio’s long-established stance against Stop and Frisk was considerably validated by a well timed Supreme Court decision, which deemed the S&F tactics of the NYPD unconstitutional. This gave De Blasio the “moral upper hand.”
27:43: By now way behind in the polls, Quinn comes in third to De Blasio and fails to secure the Democratic nomination. In the moony, purple glow of an austere hotel room, she shakily replies that she’s “just not gonna answer that question” when the director asks who she’ll be thinking of when she makes her concession speech.
So, what happened? How did the powerful woman sippin’ on the perfect brew of experience, talent, and timing lose to a dorky Brooklyn dad? It’s important to recognize that the Times documentary skimps a bit on the details: animal-rights loudmouths and old sexist white guys couldn’t be the only opponents of her campaign, or the race would have been a lot closer. Quinn opposed paid sick leave for families. She was nestled thoroughly in Bloomberg’s pocket for years, a cozy position that it’s not easy to extricate yourself from without ruffling plenty of feathers from the Bronx to Bushwick. Quinn is also an aggressive, articulate female politician who just happens to be married to a woman. So New York turned its back on her, ultimately more willing to embrace De Blasio’s liberal ideas than stick with a candidate who, despite her gender and sexuality, was perceived to be more of the same from the Bloomberg era. Time will tell whether New York will change for the better, but speaking of female politicians: Hillary, for the love of all that is holy please announce your Presidential candidacy already, love everyone.