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. Robert Gemerek

    I'm sorry but theirs no way even the most gifted of politicians could come back from those pictures he sent out and his last name being "weiner". I realize he's a pretty well connected guy though so maybe he'll run but i dont see how he'll win. I would bet that he was being groomed for a big position like mayor or governor and then that scandel happened.....and now hes hoping people have forgotten or moved on but he betrayed alot of peoples trust when he originally claimed that he was hacked....his initall reaction was to lie and cover it up and thats definitly not the kind of behavior we need more of in new york. It'd take a miracle for this guy to get reelected to anything, ask elliot spitzer....and we dont even have pics of his "package" all over the internet....sorry :P.

    April 10, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. much thunder..little rain

    why not look at clinton,sandford,marion berry...good lord...america has gone the way of ancient rome..

    April 10, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  3. Thomas

    Anthony Weiner / Mark Sanford
    Boy's will be Boys 2016

    April 10, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  4. josh

    He'd have my vote if I lived in NYC. I could care less what he does with pictures of his weiner. I'd rather vote for a guy who represents his constituents than Wall Street. Bloomberg could care less about anyone but the 1%, unless it's imposing arbitrary regulations on how large of a soda they can buy.

    April 10, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  5. Russ

    This is step one in rehabilitating his image. I don't believe he thinks he can win, but it gives him a reason to be in public, speaking on issues.

    April 10, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  6. Crocker

    These types just can't seem to go away......

    April 10, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. Sniffit

    Good. Despite his absurd texting snafu, he is a smart, educated, informed and zealous advocate. He'll be talking about the issues while his Teatroll opponent spends his time trying to talk about his wang. If you asked whether I'd enjoy the opportunity to speak to a wide audience about the issues while someone else advertises my junk as though it's the most important thing in the universe, I'd have to tell you yes.

    April 10, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  8. oldleftcoastdude

    "It's now or never for me, in terms of running for something." Good luck with that.

    April 10, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. grayfox

    Jeez, don't these guys ever give up? Hey Anthony, need a photo for your campaign poster? Oh wait, you already have a good one...

    April 10, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. jod

    Two politicans, two scandals, two very different headlines:
    "Weiner says he's considering mayoral bid"
    "Mark Sanford: Shamed politician fights for comeback"
    Stop the bias

    April 10, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. Marcus Takatoa

    What he did wasn't the worst thing ever, but I think elected officials should be held to a higher standard and showcase the best of who we are and who they represent.

    April 10, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. amf140

    Just what if he was a Republican? The media would eat itself.

    April 10, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    This guy needs to be kicked totally out of politics. Period. He shouldn't get elected to dog catcher!

    April 10, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. Pete

    Weiner gets chastised for lewd photos on the internet and I say let him run for mayor because he's not the scumbag Sanford the adulterer is and republicans are praising him now aren't they the ignorents...Weiner isn't any worse than McCain,Gingrich and Sanford so what's good for the goose is definitly good for the gander isn't it republicans and you know from past experience don't yah!!

    April 10, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  15. CJ

    In my opinion, he is the only sound minded liberal New Yorker capable of handling the mayoral Job .....New Yorkers, rally behind him if he decides to run...............................#capability#isKey

    April 10, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. Jean

    Politics, and society in general, in the US is so messed up that it would not surprise me if this twisted twit won if he did run for some political office again, look at Rangle, what a disgrace.

    April 10, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    He can consider it all he wants, but he should do the right thing for the City of New York and leave. He and Mark Sanford are cut from the same cloth. Go away.

    April 10, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  18. Kman66

    And just like Jessie Jackson Jr. after claiming he had Bipolar disorder and was under federal investigation, you Liberals will turn a blind eye to reality and still vote for him. It has nothing to do with integrity.

    April 10, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  19. Floyd Putnik

    What a joke

    April 10, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  20. Realgone

    Man, this is the face and profile of a little boy, that just got caught playing with little mister happy. How in the hell people with this much baggage could stand in front of a group of people, and ask to be placed in a position of authority is beyond me.

    April 10, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. A Weiner - Tough

    Its gonna be tough for him.. Dems are held to a higher standard than repubs as they have no religion to hide behind.. If you were a repub all you had to say was Repent,Forgive,Praise the Lord, Amen and your back in Business.. Look at the guy from South Carolina

    April 10, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  22. abmri60

    He should find work in another field.
    He should become a " mister mom " and let his wife run for mayor of NY.

    April 10, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  23. roger

    I would really be proud to have him as my city mayor. Yea, right.

    April 10, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. renee

    You did mess up! WE all do...one without sin cast the first stone.....You are a good man with a great heart for people. I think you should get back in there....one's that are too old and tired are getting out to the ring...You are YOUNG get back in and speak and fight for the people!!!!

    April 10, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  25. Ajax

    I wonder how much of this manufactured hubbub is a smokescreen and a diversion to distract us from other issues that are sneaking around congress right now. What about stealing back my social security?

    April 10, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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