Anthony Weiner, Felled by Sext Scandal, Announces Run for New York Mayor

Disgraced Jewish Lawmaker Takes to Comeback Trail

getty images

By Reuters

Published May 22, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Two years after resigning from Congress in a lewd photo scandal, former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner announced in a video message early on Wednesday he is running for New York City mayor.

“I made some big mistakes and I know I let a lot of people down, but I also learned some tough lessons,” Weiner said in the video. “I’m running because I’ve been fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it my entire life.”

The announcement promises to shake up the race to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg nearly four months before the Sept. 10 Democratic primary, though recent polls suggest Weiner faces an uphill battle.

A Quinnipiac University poll also released on Wednesday found Weiner in second place with 15 percent of the vote, trailing City Council Speaker Christine Quinn by ten points. The poll also found that nearly half of city voters say Weiner should not enter the race for mayor, while 38 percent of voters want to see him run.

Public Advocate and former city Comptroller Bill Thompson both followed with 10 percent and John Liu, the current city Comptroller, with 6 percent.

Weiner’s resignation in June of 2011 marked a remarkable fall from grace for a politician who was seen as a leading liberal voice in the U.S. House of Representatives and had been widely expected to run in this year’s race for mayor.

His fall was prompted when Weiner accidentally posted a close-up of his underpants on Twitter. Weiner, then 46, denied for more than a week that he had sent the photo and intended it for a young woman, claiming instead that his @repweiner Twitter account had been hacked.

After several women came forward to say they too had shared sexually charged exchanges with the married congressman, Weiner admitted he had lied.

For months Weiner avoided the spotlight. Then, in April, he burst back onto the political scene, when the New York Times Magazine published a lengthy article about Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin, an aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Abedin also appears in Weiner’s two-minute campaign video, telling voters: “We love this city, and no one will work harder to make it better than Anthony.”

Weiner acknowledged he was thinking about running for mayor and that he had spent about $100,000 on polling to test the public’s appetite for his political comeback.

Since then, Weiner has slowly eased his way back into politics. He unveiled a new Twitter account, @anthonyweiner, which attracted thousands of followers within days.

He also released a booklet of policy ideas, titled “Keys to the City,” that included replacing textbooks in city schools with Kindle e-readers, expanding the city’s ferry system and creating a single-payer health care system for uninsured and under-insured New Yorkers.

Weiner, once known for his combative cable-news appearances, also proposed a “Mayor’s Question Time” modeled on the United Kingdom’s weekly question time with the Prime Minister. The sessions would turn City Council meetings into “must-see” T.V. events, according to a description Weiner posted on Twitter.

Critics say many of the ideas are hardly new, and that many echo positions already taken by Weiner’s Democratic rivals.

Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, said that while he appreciated that Weiner was making food security a priority, Weiner’s specific policy prescriptions were consistent with positions taken by Quinn and Public Advocate Bill De Blasio, another mayoral candidate.

And while advocates for improved public transportation say that Weiner was a leader on the issue while in Congress, his “Keys to the City” ideas - which generally run about three or four sentences in length - don’t go beyond positions other candidates have already taken.

John Feal, an advocate for first responders injured in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, offers unreserved praise of Weiner for fighting for the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act for sick workers.

“He was there fighting for us in the beginning and he was there at the end fighting for us. And I’ll always remember that,” Feal said.

“We’re all human,” Feal said of the scandal that led to Weiner’s downfall.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.