New York (CNN) - Former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who resigned in disgrace after sending lewd photos via Twitter, got some good news Tuesday with a new poll indicating he's gaining ground in the New York City mayoral race.
Asked by CNN if he's getting a second chance, Weiner argued voters aren't focused on his scandal.
"Look. I have said from the moment I got into this race that I honor the idea that people are going to have questions about me, but for the most part the questions people have been asking have been the things that affect their families."
A new Marist poll released Tuesday indicates Weiner is catching up to the Democratic frontrunner, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. He's now five points behind her in the race for the Democratic nomination, 24%-19%. The other candidates fall below 12%.
Also noteworthy, 53% say Weiner deserves a second chance, while 39% say he lacks the character to be mayor. If no candidate receives 40% of the vote in this fall's Democratic primary, there would be a run-off. And in a head-to-head match-up in the same poll, Quinn crushes Weiner by 15 points.
Weiner's comments came shortly before his first debate, where he received a warm welcome. Five Democratic candidates gathered for the education-themed showdown, but noticeably absent was Quinn. Citing a scheduling conflict, Quinn dropped out of the debate at the last minute, even though the event's organizers insisted she helped set the date.
Weiner, who jumped into the race last week, took a noticeably different approach than his opponents. With rolled-up sleeves and no suit jacket, the former congressman looked more relaxed and frequently sat back in his chair as he listened to others speak.
But when it was his turn to talk, he sometimes stood up, taking the microphone out of the stand placed in front of him on the table.
At the debate Weiner said he'd be an independent voice in the Big Apple, even if that means bumping heads with the state's popular Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, and the state's legislature.
"If I'm lucky enough to get your vote, and I wind up being mayor I may have to fight with Governor Cuomo on things, but honestly he started it," he said. "My view is that every single day we should be chafing at the yoke of Albany control on everything."
Some tension may already exist between Weiner and Cuomo. Last week, Cuomo told a newspaper "Shame on us" if Weiner is elected, but later said he was only kidding.
The governor defended those comments Tuesday when a reporter asked if he was really joking in the remark.
"Yeah that was the context, but that's what I said and that was my comment on the mayoral race and will now let them run their race and we'll see what happens," Cuomo said.
stand strong weiner
Keep your weiner in your pants Weiner.
Mayor Weiner does have a kind of New York City ring to it, doesn't it
this guy is a clown and needs to find a new career path. Maybe online pornography?
Two words "David Vitter" republican from Louisiana.
He was no joke, but a joker.
If he does win, they'll likely erect a statue in his honor.
This is like the movie "Trading Places". It' like someone is proving they can get Weiner elected.
If Sanford, the why not Weiner?
still a weiner
Oh, please. Some voters in NYC have lost their marbles.
Are New Yorkers really that stupid and naive?! Just asking...
What he did for this scorn is nothing to what republicans do and still get supported by their kind....but I am a progressive liberal and I do not forgive even his small wrong easily.
New York city is no differnt then South Carolina.
I thought his name was Oscar?
I hope he wins so that Democrats can claim that even though we don't preach to be perfect or hang on to that bible and those "family values" like the repugs we can bring someone back who will help people.
I am not saying that what he did was right but at least he fought for the first responders' rights and money for their illnesses after spending weeks and months at ground zero. Another matter the rethugs didn't want to address with money for those responders. Many of whom have died.
Wow. My thought is that a true public servant would have voluntarily stayed off the public stage, and left the politics up to others who at least still had the appearance of integrity. We have the ability to pick the best from our population to hold public offices.....it says a lot about our heart and spirit when we choose self-serving morons like Weiner.
An exposer for NY mayor.....sounds write
The only poll Weiner is climbing is his own....
This is all we can offer for the future of our young Americans?
What a sad state of affairs for our young people, that men such as Anthony Weiner are pushed to the forefront of politics as being the best example to handle very serious matters involving societal issues for the states and nation.
I want no part of a society that shows appreciation for men that fail by their own actions as though it were something to be regarded or admired.
Weiner keep your weiner out of the race.
It is sad but true, liberals will always support their own kind.