April 10th, 2013
09:38 AM ET
8 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. JeffersonLives

    Oh no Weiner is back...to send more pics of his Weiner. I thought this clown would have known better than to step back onto the political stage.

    April 10, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- TAKE BACK THE HOUSE

    Unlike Senor Sanford, Weiner actually kept his weiner in his pants and in New York and D.C. I forgive him. his fall from grace was a God send for republicans because they were terrified of him. He's just the kind of guy we need running the city: A no holds barred, don't bite your tongue politician. It's safe to come back Weiner. If Vitter and Sanford can do it, I don't see why you can't.

    April 10, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  3. taw

    Why doesn't the people in this country wise up and run people like this off when they've had to resign because of a scandle. Will the people of this country ever wise up. I don't think so.

    April 10, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  4. liberal disease

    these liberals have no shame! cant wait for Jesse Jackson to get out of jail so he can run again, or Spitzer aka client # 9
    Its no wonder our gov is so dysfunctional, look who is running it?

    April 10, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  5. Jim

    Wouldn't surprise me if "The Weiner" was elected; after all, other deviates were elected/reelected. The old clique applies, "Do as I say and not as I do.".

    April 10, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  6. A True Conservative

    Please sit down – you have already brought shame upon yourself and pain for your family.

    April 10, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. csm_in_dc

    Weiner running is okay. It's the ones who vote for him that I question.

    April 10, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  8. Al-NY,NY

    step right up tightie righties.......make snarky comments about Weiner but give Appalachian Trail Sanford a pass

    April 10, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  9. Anonymous

    Please don't.

    April 10, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. Quest

    I hope he can deliver a win; however, he may be permanently damaged. If his penis were a bit bigger, voters might like him more.

    April 10, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. JLY

    Yeah, right....like he has a chance

    April 10, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  12. Catgravy

    Anything is better than Bloomberg!! Heck, if a turd was running against Bloomberg, it would probably win!!

    April 10, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  13. king

    hey wiener is probably one of the best democrats around, he's not scared to stand up for what is right. what he does in his private life is none of our business, especially when he doesn't break any laws. i was scared of what would have happened to the democrat when he quit a couple years back. i think he is ripe to take government office again.

    April 10, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  14. James PDX

    There are lots of candidates out there who can keep their wiener to themselves. No need to bring back an old wiener. If you feel the need to vote edgy, vote outside of these 2 corrupt parties and vote for real change.

    April 10, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    Another political ego to big to fail? Best thing this man can do for himself and his family is to get a life beyond politics. He is right up there with a whole slew of others from both sides of the aisle dragging politics into the gutter ... time and time again.

    April 10, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Why not? Republicans don't shy away from scandals.

    April 10, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  17. Woody's Hay

    This is completely different from Mark Sanford winning the primary in S. Carolina because ... um ... um ... um ...

    April 10, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  18. critical thinking

    Please, Please run. SNL needs more material.

    April 10, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  19. BigWeiner

    If Weiner wins..... I will move! No joke! I will move out of NYC once and for all. It's hard to live here when all day I see welfare takers everywhere. Weiner will be the last straw!

    April 10, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  20. WhoopieCushion

    Hasn't the nation already seen enough of him?
    Pun fully intended.

    April 10, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  21. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This should prove interesting. If he wins, that could provide a platform to run for other posts as well.

    April 10, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  22. BigWeiner

    If Anthony Weiner wins..... I will move! No joke! I will move out of NYC once and for all. It's hard to live here when all day I see welfare takers everywhere. Anthony Weiner will be the last straw!

    April 10, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  23. chilly g

    i would give the guy a second chance but i'll be happy with both candiates.

    April 10, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  24. Van Krunk

    He couldn't be worse them Bloomberg!

    April 10, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  25. AC

    GIve 'em hell, Anthony. If the GOP can install Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, you might as well serve your city.

    April 10, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
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