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Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn Slams Actress Cynthia Nixon As 'Unqualified'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Actress Cynthia Nixon kicked off her Democratic primary campaign for governor Tuesday with her first public event.

The former "Sex and the City" star held a press conference at Bethesday Healing Center in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

"I'm running for governor, because I love this state," Nixon said. 

Her first speech included the expected attacks on Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a man who has been governor for two terms, from a candidate determined to run as a more liberal alternative, CBS2's Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported.

"New York State itself is the single most unequal state in the country. The top one percent of New Yorkers earn 45 times what the other 99 percent earn," said Nixon.

What was unexpected, though, was a stunning attack on the openly gay candidate from former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is also openly gay, Kramer reported.

Quinn says Nixon is an actress who has never run anything and wouldn't know how.

"This is about experience and this is about knowing the challenges of New York State from agriculture to deep urban poverty," Quinn said. "What this is at the end of the day is somewhat of a flight of fancy on Ms. Nixon's part.

In an earlier interview, Quinn attacked Nixon for being an "unqualified lesbian." She walked part of that back, just not the unqualified part.

"It came out in a way that has left some people believing I was attacking her sexual orientation. For that, I want to apologize," said Quinn. "I stand by my statement that Ms. Nixon is unqualified to be the governor of the state of New York."

"My being a lesbian or her being a lesbian I think has nothing to do with why we're running for office," Nixon said.

When Quinn ran for mayor in 2013, Nixon backed Bill de Blasio, who's seen as encouraging her campaign as part of his feud with Cuomo.

Nixon's plan appears to be to attack the governor for not fixing the subways. In fact, subway delays made her late for her press conference Tuesday and she pointedly rode the subway home.

"We need a dedicated stream of revenue to fund the subways," she said.

When asked about congestion pricing or a millionaires' tax, she said "I think both of those are good ideas."

Nixon also took a shot at the governor's attempts to put an end to corruption in the state capital.

"If Washington is a swamp, Albany is a cesspool," Nixon said. "Andrew Cuomo promised to clean up Albany, but instead he and his cronies have cleaned up for themselves."

Nixon announced her run on social media Monday. Cuomo, who is seeking a third term, responded to Nixon's announcement with a statement, saying "It's great we live in a democracy where anyone can run for office."

According to the most recent Siena Poll, Cuomo holds a substantial lead over Nixon and two potential Republican challengers. The Democratic primary is set for Sept. 13.

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