April 10th, 2013
09:38 AM ET
10 years ago

Weiner says he's considering mayoral bid

(CNN) – Former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who resigned in 2011 amid scandal over a lewd photo sent via Twitter, confirmed in an interview published Wednesday that he's considering a political comeback, with a New York City mayoral bid on his radar.

The Democrat admitted he's eying this year's mayor's race in a lengthy New York Times Magazine article that detailed his life with wife Huma Abedin, a close aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and their attempts to stay out of the limelight over the past two years-until now.

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Weiner confirmed his political committee spent more than $100,000 on polling and research by Obama's pollster, David Binder.

News broke last month that Weiner had been actively spending based on reports filed with the city's Campaign Finance Board.

The payments seemed like movement beyond comments Weiner made just last summer, when he told People Magazine that he was "very happy in (his) present life."

"I'm not doing anything to plan a campaign," he said.

Binder said the focus of the recent poll was whether voters were willing to give the former congressman, who represented parts of Brooklyn and Queens for more than six terms, a second chance, regardless of which office he sought.

"There was this sense of 'Yeah, he made a mistake. Let's give him a second chance. But there are conditions on that, and there are a couple of things we're going to want to know: What have you been doing since this incident occurred? Did you learn anything from this mistake? How did you deal with it?' They want to know that they've put it behind them," Binder said, according to the Times piece.

Weiner's controversy dominated headlines for weeks, as he first lied about the lusty photo. Later, reports of online exchanges with other women began to surface. He held a widely-watched press conference on June 6 to confirm the rumors, a little more than a week after the Twitter photo, then resigned 10 days later.

After the 2011 scandal, Weiner retreated to a more private life, while Abedin stayed focused on her job at the State Department. Soon after Weiner's resignation, it became public that Abedin was pregnant, and they now have a 13-month-old, Jordan. Weiner's role has largely been that of a stay-at-home dad, but speculation that he may re-enter politics has been circulating for more than a year.

"By agreeing to be interviewed , Weiner and Abedin would seem to be trying to give voters what they want – and gauge public reaction," stated the article, written by Jonathan Van Meter.

The power couple talked about staying off the grid the last two years, trying to avoid paparazzi and the same public events they normally frequented in Washington.

"We didn't want to make other people uncomfortable," Abedin said, "but also, we just didn't want to deal with it. I have now gotten used to people asking, over and over again, 'How is Anthony?' Oh, he's good! 'But how is he doing?' He's doing fine."

"We have been in a defensive crouch for so long," Weiner added. "We are ready to clear the decks on this thing."

Should he decide to enter this year's mayoral race, he'll have some tough competition. Speaker of the City Council Christine Quinn has long been the Democratic front-runner, and has a big lead over Republican candidates in hypothetical match-ups. If Quinn is elected, she'll become New York's first female and first openly gay mayor.

Weiner also has nearly $4.5 million cash on hand – a start for a mayoral run in the Big Apple. In contrast, Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent over $108 million on his successful 2009 bid for a third term, according to the campaign finance board records.

"I don't have this burning, overriding desire to go out and run for office," Weiner said. "It's not the single animating force in my life as it was for quite some time. But I do recognize, to some degree, it's now or maybe never for me, in terms of running for something."

For this year's race, he faces a tight deadline. Candidates have until the second week of July to file paperwork to appear on the ballot for the Democratic mayoral primary set for September 10, according to New York City Board of Elections spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez. They must submit 3,750 petition signatures from voters, as well.

"I'm trying to gauge not only what's right and what feels comfortable right this second, but I'm also thinking, How will I feel in a year or two years or five years? Is this the time that I should be doing it? And then there's the other side of the coin, which is . . . am I still the same person who I thought would make a good mayor?"

- CNN's Jason Kessler contributed to this report.

CNN spoke to a few New York voters Wednesday about whether they would support Weiner's possible political comeback. Here's what they had to say:

Kemper Diehl: "I think that was a lapse of judgment online but a lot of people have those this day and age. I do like his values and I think he did a good job raising important issues in Congress, he's a liberal member of Congress while he was there, so yeah, I'll be open to that."

Diehl: "I would hope to hear him talk about that and sort of say that, you know, that was just a lapse of judgment and give some explaining for that, but I don't think I'll hold that against him politically."

Diane Perillo: "I think he would not be appropriate to run at this moment. I think he carries too much baggage. I don't think he would do well in the polls, and I think he has some issues. He seems to have anger issues for one thing. I don't really see him as a candidate."

Modou Thian: "I believe every person deserves a second chance. So, you know, he's– he made a mistake and he apologized. I think we should move on and forgive him and give him another chance because no one is perfect, so."

Marylou Francis: "I'd have to think about it, but I wouldn't rule it out."

Karla Alcabas: "I never saw the Twitter picture but I–I don't think so. I, well, I saw him on news programs after the whole thing happened and I know he, you know, does some good stuff politically, my husband is very much in favor of him before all of that happened, but I am just tired of the politicians with this kind of thing. I really am. I don't know."

Katie Boren: "It's hard to say because that says a lot about your character, you know. So, I think I would have to think twice about that...I absolutely think I might hold it against him because it speaks to a lot of your character. I think to do something like he did."

Filed under: Anthony Weiner • New York
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. wu

    This kind of nuts should stay out of public interest. Hope people can vote responsibly, not just vote upon "that name rings a bell".

    April 10, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. Monomachos

    Just what the people of New York City need – a Big Weenie for the Big Apple. Can't he get a job on MSNBC instead?

    April 10, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. v_mag

    Why don't these guys just be good boys and go to work at Walmart? Why do the Sanfords, Wieners, and all the other disgraced politicians (and there are a lot of them!) feel the need to remind everyone of their sins and jump back into politics? Is it something to do with having very thick skin? Or very thin morals? Or expecting us to have very short memories?

    April 10, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. Fabian

    Yes, he was foolish for doing what he did. However, his record is actually quite good and he understands how to get things done on the floor when trying to pass legislation.

    April 10, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  5. Istenno

    i would like to see Weiner run again for congress.

    April 10, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. glorydays

    Where are our brightest and best?

    April 10, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  7. Tony

    I will not be voting for this guy he is stupid just like Eliott Spitzer you vote them into office and they do crap giving the republicans a chance to win traitors.

    April 10, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  8. reaper

    I remember an interview with this guy where he was going on at length about how the government has more right to peoples assets after they die than family members do. This guy will steal, lie, cheat, and take you for everything you have. DO NOT put this loser in any position of power again. You think it's bad now, wait until he gets his dirty corrupt self involved. The only place he should be is in prison for corruption.

    April 10, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. Reality Check

    What a short memory people have. Weiner is a moraly bankrupt opportunist, a discrace to the house. Weiner, should listen to his mentor Charles Schumer and stay out of politics. Laws need to be changed so deviants like Weiner who resign in discrace are required to return their campaign money.

    April 10, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. Bennycat

    His considering running for office is one more example of poor judgment on the part of a vain, essentially silly man.

    April 10, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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