Liberal CNN Contributor: Cuomo’s Democratic Challenger Is an ‘Unqualified Lesbian’

Christine Quinn / Getty Images

Former Democratic New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn on Tuesday said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D.) Democratic challenger is a "unqualified lesbian."

The remark from Quinn, an openly-gay supporter of Cuomo, came one day after former "Sex and the City" actress Cynthia Nixon announced she would challenge Cuomo in the 2018 Democratic primary. Quinn told the New York Post in an interview that Nixon was an "unqualified lesbian" before taking a shot at Nixon for endorsing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over her in the 2013 Democratic primary for mayor.

"I’m surprised by this race. It’s a flight of fancy on her part," Quinn said of Nixon's campaign announcement.

"Cynthia Nixon was opposed to having a qualified lesbian become mayor of New York City," Quinn said. "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."

Quinn, who is also a CNN contributor, admitted she and the "Sex and the City" actress are both supporters of progressive positions, but she said there is more to running the state of New York than being a liberal celebrity.

"She’s an accomplished actress, a supporter of political causes and that’s a good thing. Participating in rallies is important," Quinn said. "But she’s never run an organization. Being an actress and celebrity doesn’t make you qualified for public office. This is a time to move away from celebrity and toward progressive leadership."

Quinn pushed back against criticism of Cuomo and the idea he should be moving left on his political views.

"Gov. Cuomo’s accomplished [a lot] including a $15 minimum wage, opposing fracking and she’s on record supporting the governor on marriage equality," Quinn said. "Why are we having this primary? Democrats should be united and focusing on winning control of the state Senate and taking back the House of Representatives."

Nixon brushed off Quinn's criticism of her, saying that "her being a lesbian and my being a lesbian" is not the issue. She then said the campaign is about "the corruption in Albany. It’s time for an outsider. I’m not an Albany insider."

Nixon noted that Cuomo's $30 million in donations is mostly from corporate and special interests versus donations from small donor, grassroots supporters.

Facing criticism for her comments, Quinn took to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon to explain herself. While falling short of apologizing, she said it was not her intention to suggest "Nixon's identity has any bearing on her candidacy."

Quinn went on to highlight the importance candidates being qualified to run for elected office. She said "Nixon opposed my candidacy in New York despite my qualifications for the office and despite my strong progressive credentials" and that she was trying to make a comparison between the two situations.