Quinn helps make the case against Mark-Viverito
Christine Quinn's political battle with Bill de Blasio has continued into the speaker's race.
The outgoing City Council speaker has quietly pushed the candidacy of several potential successors, in an effort to block Melissa Mark-Viverito from succeeding her, three sources close to the process told Capital.
Mark-Viverito claimed victory in the race earlier this month, when she unveiled the backing of 30 members, more than the 26 needed to win the race, after de Blasio reportedly intervened to sway some members to her side.
Quinn and her allies, who are also close to the Queens Democratic organization that opposes Mark-Viverito, have been pushing members to instead back the candidacy of Manhattan Democrat Dan Garodnick, sources said.
"I had a conversation with her where she was absolutely discouraging Melissa," said one member, who requested anonymity.
The member added that Quinn's closest advisors "were explicit in trashing me, and telling me by supporting [Mark-Viverito] I was not in a good place, I would not be in a good place."
The interactions took place as recently as the last Council meeting on Dec. 19.
"The Queens-Quinn machine is losing and is losing badly, and they definitely sort of let it be known that you were not on the team if you were for Melissa and those of us who indicated support for Melissa heard about it in various ways, some subtle, some not," the member added. "I think (Quinn) would've preferred anybody but Melissa."
Quinn's spokesman declined comment, as did Garodnick.
The member said the Quinn-Queens joint effort began before Garodnick's candidacy solidified, as they reached out to several other members in search of a viable alternative to Mark-Viverito.
"They certainly have been involved from the beginning," said an operative close to the process. "They've been shopping around for a candidate for quite some time. They were with Inez (Dickens) and they were with Annabel (Palma). As it becomes clear that Dan (Garodnick) was kind of the leading second candidate, it became sort of optimal for them to kind of tie their fortunes to him."
Quinn has deep ties to the Queens County organization, which helped her become speaker in 2006 by unifying its members behind her candidacy.
In return, she rewarded Queens members with plum committee assignments, such as Land Use and Finance. And dozens of Queens Democratic Party members hold patronage jobs within the Council--positions that are at risk under the potential speakership of Mark-Viverito.
Quinn and Mark-Viverito were once political allies and even friends, but had a bitter dispute over the redrawing of Council maps in 2012.
The disagreement hinged on Mark-Viverito's anger over portions of the Bronx being added to her district, which also put her at odds with Bronx Democratic chairman Carl Heastie, who has allied with Queens in opposing her candidacy.
Mark-Viverito also endorsed de Blasio early in the Democratic mayoral primary this year, and is a founding member of the Council's Progressive Caucus, which formed in 2010 to act as a counterweight to Quinn and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The member who spoke to Capital said those opposed to her candidacy simply fear a power shift in the Council.
"This is like the dismantling of an empire," the member said.