Lena Dunham on not considering Spitzer and not losing the next Patti Smith to Tampa

Dunham. (Azi Paybarah)
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Scott Stringer, the Manhattan borough president and candidate for New York City comptroller, held a fund-raiser last night in Manhattan, attended by young professionals, Democratic political operatives and a celebrity.

Delivering the night's keynote speech was the writer and star of "Girls," Lena Dunham, who has been advocating for Stringer since he was running for mayor.

Dunham said that Stringer was a strong supporter of women and young, middle-class workers struggling with a lack of affordable housing and jobs. She joked about how she feels when she's outside New York City for too long ("extremely nauseous") and about not quite knowing at first what the office Stringer is seeking is actually for. ("The first thing I did was Google the word 'comptrol,'" she said.)

Then she said, "In some elections, we got a real choice between candidates. Maybe they're distinguished by policies or by position papers. ... Let's be clear. That's not the case in this election. This is not a close call. We need a candidate with a record of respecting women and the issues that matter to them."

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Stringer is running against Eliot Spitzer, who resigned from the governor's office in 2008 after being linked to a prostitution ring.

Dunham also spoke about how Stringer understands "how tough it is for middle class people to make it in the city today. They're the backbone of the city but they are getting priced right out of it."

Recent college graduates, she said, are "struggling to find jobs and pay the rent and if they struggle for too long, they're leaving New York" for other cities, "even Tampa."

At one point, Dunham spoke about growing up with her family in a Soho loft, where her the rent was "$350 a month, if they just hid their stove from Con Edison. Now, the building that I was born in houses a Victoria's Secret and is next door to a Sephora. Anyway, we can't have our generation's Patti Smith moving to Tampa. That's going to seriously fuck our shit up."

(I tweeted last night about the Dunham's remarks and characterized it as a denunciation of gentrification; Stringer spokeswoman and Dunham pal Audrey Gelman suggested that wasn't quite right, while Dunham noted there were broader issues she was concerned with.)

Dunham and Stringer posed for pictures. She left without speaking to reporters. Stringer hung out and took photos with a series of well-wishers.

After the speeches, I asked Stringer if he had a contingency plan to run on another line in case he lost the Democratic primary. "I'm winning the primary. Hello!?" he said.

Other attendees included Rep. Jerry Nadler, Councilman Jimmy Vacca, United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew and Democratic consultant George Arzt.

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