New York Comptroller Race Was Mostly a Celebrity-Fashion-Extravaganza

When New York's favorite prostitute-and-black-sock-loving former governor struck out in his bid for comptroller, there were any number of reasons (see: prostitute-and-black-sock-loving) to blame for his loss. Turns out, it involved Terry Richardson, Lena Dunham, and a sleeveless white Dior dress.

Well, sort of. The gift that just keeps on giving in the form of the New York Times style section has an effusive, 2,000 word essay on Audrey Gelman: spokesperson for the Democratic nominee for comptroller Scott Stringer, girlfriend of fetishistic photographer Terry Richardson, and the basis for the character Marnie on Girls.

Gelman's connection to Dunham stretches back years; they have apparently been friends since Gelman's mother became Dunham's mother's shrink. Not only did Dunham base the character of Marnie on Gelman, but Gelman also had a cameo in the second season of Girls.

According to the Times, Gelman, a 26-year-old press and PR specialist, got into politics because she liked the idea of "rolling up the sleeves of her Jil Sander blouse and delving into politics as practiced at the street level."

But it was her connections that put Stringer on the map. A "Young New York" campaign party at the Maritime Hotel — heavily promoted as a way to mingle with New York's young elite like Lena Dunham and Scarlett Johansson (who didn't show up) — helped Stringer close a 15-point gap that separated him from Spitzer, primarily on the strength of the celebrities involved. The Times also attributes some success to the sleeveless white Dior cocktail dress Gelman wore.

And that's how most news outlets covered it. As the New Republic reported:

And now, too, the Stringer campaign is known for its glittering support: It has suddenly become the cause celebre among a certain strata of downtown types, who have embraced moderate chic with a wholeheartedness not seen in Manhattan since the first Obama campaign. The reason for the high-fashion attention being paid to this municipal election is Audrey Gelman, Stringer’s former press secretary turned SKDKnickbocker consultant dedicated to the campaign.

Hidden in the profile are a few clues that Gelman has political experience beyond an affinity for designer business chic; she worked on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and served as Stringer's deputy press secretary. Or, as the Times puts it; "not the most glamorous assignment, particularly for a budding fashionista who appeared in a short promotional film for DKNY Intimates and was often the plus-one for Mr. Richardson at art openings and movie premieres."

But Stringer probably put his campaign goals best following a speech by Dunham where she admitted that she had previously had no idea what a comptroller's job was. The office watches over city investments and audits agencies; in her speech, Dunham said her ideal comptroller candidate respected women and issues that matter to them.

"This job of comptroller... I'd like to think I made it cool around the country," Stringer said at the Young New York party, adding, "No one ever thought municipal finance could be sexy."

[image via Getty]