2009-05-29 / Top Stories

Weiner Slinks From Bloomberg Battle

By Howard Schwach

Congressman Anthony Weiner made an appearance at this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade. Congressman Anthony Weiner made an appearance at this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade. Representative Anthony Weiner has slinked away from a key battle that would have pitted him against billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg next November.

Weiner said on Monday that he would drop out of the mayor's race so that he can focus on helping New York in Congress.

While that is Weiner's official explanation, there is some indication that the Congressman felt that he was mismatched by Bloomberg's fortune and unlimited opportunities for campaign spending.

In an op-ed piece in Wednesday's New York Times, Weiner explained that one reason for his decision is Bloomberg's enormous war chest.

"In this case, a sports analogy is apt," Weiner wrote. "If one football team has 110 players on the field, the team with 11 has a hard time getting through the blocking and tackling on the crowded turf."

Weiner has raised $5.2 million for his campaign. Bloomberg has reportedly already spent more than $18 million going into the first week in June.

Comptroller William Thompson, the only announced Democrat left in the mayoral race, has raised less than $5 million.

On Monday night, the five Democratic organizations, one in each borough, endorsed Thompson to run against Bloomberg.

Weiner told reporters that he had used his position in the House of Representatives to help balance the New York City budget.

"I worked very hard on the stimulus bill to make sure that money that came to New York passed through New York City," he said. "What I'd really done is help Mike Bloomberg be a success in this election year by helping him close the budget gap."

Bloomberg, however, showed disdain for Weiner's comment.

"The stimulus money may have closed the budget gap in Albany, it didn't do a heck of a lot for us here. It is useful and Anthony Weiner deserves the credit [for that]."

Weiner told Daily News reporters that there is no way he could have competed against Bloomberg's blank check campaign.

"This is not a level playing field, and maybe it's not even a fair fight," he said. "I simply don't think that I could wage the kind of campaign necessary in order to overcome the resources the mayor has."

He did not, however, rule out running in the future.

"I intend to continue fighting for New Yorkers all across the city and hope to run for mayor some day," Weiner said in an email to his supporters.

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