NEW YORK — Mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn was at the microphone unveiling a plan to make neighborhoods safer from sexual harassment and assault. But nearly every camera at Quinn’s press conference Monday on a gritty Brooklyn block was aimed behind her — focusing on a woman who stood quietly in the background.

It was Kim Catullo, Quinn’s notoriously press-shy wife, who was making a rare appearance on the campaign trail only three weeks before next month’s Democratic mayoral primary.

Ultimately coaxed to the microphone, Catullo was a shy sidekick to Quinn, whose boisterous laugh and blunt talk has become a defining part of her political persona. But when pressed, Catullo offered a highly personal answer for how she was looking to sway New Yorkers to support her wife.

“She’s the smartest person that I know, she’s the most qualified and she has a heart of gold and people need to know that. And if they know her the way that I know her, as I’ve told her every morning, she’ll win by a landslide,” Catullo said, giving Quinn an affectionate squeeze.

Catullo, a lawyer who was Quinn’s partner for 11 years before marrying her in a lavish Manhattan ceremony last year, hasn’t been a total stranger to the campaign trail. She joined Quinn earlier this spring when the City Council speaker officially declared her bid to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and she’s occasionally popped up at some political events, including in the audience at last week’s Democratic mayoral debate.

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