(CNN) – Christine Quinn, the front-running Democratic candidate to become the next mayor of New York, made her bid official Sunday, saying her aim was to keep the metropolis "a place for the middle class."
New York "needs to remain and become even more that place of opportunity," Quinn said at a press conference in northern Manhattan. "A place that's a beacon for the middle class and for people who are fighting so hard to get into the middle class. And I'm running for mayor because I want to keep New York City that place and make it more of that place."
In a web video announcing her candidacy, she recapped her time as speaker of the City Council, as well as her previous jobs, including as an advocate for victims of hate crimes in the city. And she announced she'd take a "walk and talk" tour of every neighborhood in all five boroughs, during which she'll speak with New Yorkers to assess their priorities for the municipal government.
If Quinn is elected, she'll become New York's first female and first openly gay mayor. In the City Council, she's been a close ally of current Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will leave City Hall next year after serving three terms. He is expected to endorse Quinn at some point before November's election.
In a February 27 poll from Quinnipiac University, she enjoyed a healthy lead over her potential rivals in a Democratic primary, including Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former City Comptroller Bill Thompson.
On the Republican side, former MTA chief Joseph Lhota leads a field of largely unknown candidates, including businessman John Catsimatidis and newspaper publisher Tom Allon.
Pitted against Lhota in February's poll, the top three Democrats all hold big leads: Quinn tops Lhota by 63%-19%, while de Blasio leads 58%-18% and Thompson is up 55%-20%.
Asked if those polls made her confident, Quinn noted the race was still in its earliest stages.
"It's March. We're at the beginning of this race. And we're walking and talking and running to win and that means working every single day, taking nothing for granted, and I need to go out there today and every day and prove to New Yorkers that I can be the best person to work with them to make their city even greater. We won't know who won until Election Day and those are the only numbers that really matter."