Reports: Weiner May Get Back In The Race
With $4.5 million burning a hole in his campaign chest and a burning desire to get back into politics, former Congressman Anthony Weiner might well run for a citywide position – either mayor or public advocate – in the upcoming 2013 election, published reports in all the major daily papers said on Monday.
Weiner, who represented the west end of the Rockaway peninsula in the House of Representatives for many years, resigned his position in June of last year after being embroiled in a sexting scandal in which he texted semi-lewd photos of himself to several women.
He resigned under pressure from President Barack Obama and several high-ranking Democratic officials, and his position was eventually taken by Breezy Point resident Bob Turner, who won a special election against Democrat David Weprin.
Weiner’s district was then reapportioned out of existence, leaving Congressman Gregory Meeks, who is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee and several other law enforcement agencies.
The published sources say that Weiner has roughly $4.5 million in the bank for a political candidacy and a deadline to use it next year or miss out on getting up to $1.5 million in public matching funds.
Those reports say that he wants to return to politics, according to friends and former staff members.
As much as he might desire to run for office, however, he faces a major challenge in overcoming the scandal over his lewd online behavior that spurred him to resign his House seat last year.
A number of locals say that they would vote for Weiner again should he choose to run.
“Weiner was stupid, but never did anything criminal, as far as I can see,” said one local Democratic official who asked not to be identified. “Lots of other politicians, who have done illegal acts and continue to do so, are still in office. If your scandal is about money, you’re OK. If it’s about sex, you better step aside.”
Beyond the scandal, there are mostly questions, the biggest of them being whether or not Weiner will attempt his comeback in the next citywide election.
Before the scandal, he was widely believed to be gearing up for a run for mayor, and he told The Wave many times that he believed that he could beat any of the announced Democratic candidates to get the party’s nod.
Now, that might not be so easy, although a poll of Rockaway voters after the scandal showed that more than half of those polled would still vote for Weiner for Mayor should he run.
On Sunday of last week, he declined comment to several media outlets that asked for his immediate political ambitions.
His refusal to address his political future only stirred further speculation. Some suggested that, a little more than a year after the scandal that ended his Congressional career, it was too early to pursue a second life in politics. “It’s much, much too soon,” Bruce F. Berg, a political science professor at Fordham University, told the New York Times. “In a crowded Democratic primary, especially for a citywide office, he doesn’t have a chance,” he added.
A report in the New York Post said that Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has urged him to do a single interview with a New York media outlet, explaining the texting and putting the issue to bed once and for all, as President Bill Clinton did with his own sex scandal.
A filing made Friday to the New York City Campaign Finance Board shows that Weiner is still paying rent on a campaign office in Manhattan and for the office’s utilities.