The voters of New York City have elected many public officials who have then tarnished their reputations by committing crimes. The last several weeks have seen the FBI rounding up even more potential criminal politicians. Can a man who was publicly humiliated and forced from office in a sexting scandal just two years ago appeal to these same voters and become mayor? Anthony Weiner thinks that he wants to find out. In a Wednesday interview with the New York Times magazine , he revealed that he has spent more than $100,000 on polling that very issue.
The sexting scandal
A married representative exchanges sexual Twitter messages with several women, including at least one young enough to be his daughter. The news broke over the Memorial Day weekend in 2011 that Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner was tweeting and sending suggestive photos to women. His first response was denial. He claimed that his account had been hacked. When more women and more photos came out, he finally told his wife and his constituents the truth. On June 15, 2011, Weiner resigned from Congress. His wife, Huma Abedin, was not at his side unlike so many other political wives with husbands who were scoundrels. In a special election to fill the empty seat, voters chose a Republican, Bob Turner.
Current mayor Michael Bloomberg is barred from running for a fourth time by term limits. The scramble for a spot on the ballot has ensnared one group of politicians in an FBI sting that resulted in six arrests. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn leads the Democratic Party contenders and would be Weiner's most serious opposition. The Republicans have no clear front-runner but, in an odd intervention, NPR is reporting that Ronald Reagan's son, Michael, is urging the leadership to approve the appearance of Democrat Adolfo Carrion Jr. on the primary ballot.
Until his scandal broke, Weiner was popular. He had never faced a serious challenge for his congressional seat and his wife's status as an aide to Hillary Clinton did not hurt his image. He was never charged with a crime and there is no legal impediment to his run for mayor of New York City. He has reconciled with Abedin and they have a toddler. The Associated Press reports that he has a war chest of more than $4.3 million and the potential to receive another $1.5 million in public funding. The primary winner needs 40 percent of the votes to avoid a runoff election and there are a half-dozen Democrats already in the race. If the primary voters can forget the sight of his bare chest in those tweets, he may succeed.
- Politics & Government
- Anthony Weiner
- New York City