Despite his humiliating resignation two years ago as a U.S. congressman from New York following the revelation of several online affairs, Anthony Weiner (shown) has indicated that he is considering a run for mayor of New York City. During a lengthy, sympathetic interview with the New York Times Magazine, he stated that he would like to ask voters for a “second chance.”
He explained in the interview,
[Running for office is] 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.
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?
Weiner told the magazine that his committee has already dropped over $100,000 on polling and research, though his pollster informed him that he would be the “underdog” in a mayoral race.
Weiner’s pollster, longtime Obama pollster David Binder, explained that the focus of the poll was the question, “Are voters willing to give him a second chance or not, regardless of what race or what contest?”
Binder said, “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.”
Acknowledging that his run would be an uphill battle, Weiner told the magazine, “I am a bit of a polarizing case.”
Weiner, formerly a prominent member of the House Democratic caucus, was forced to resign when it came to light that he had engaged in a number of online affairs. The so-called sexting scandal was revealed when a sexually explicit photo was accidentally sent to the public via Weiner's Twitter account. Weiner first denied that he was involved, claiming that he was the victim of a hacker. When asked, however, if the photo was in fact of himself, he replied, “I can’t say with certitude.”
It was quickly discovered that the photo was intended for Seattle college student Gennette Nicole Cardova, and before long, five other women came forward and admitted that they too had engaged in online relationships with the congressman, bearing Facebook and Twitter messages and sexually explicit photos as proof.
Weiner was forced to confess to his indiscretions during a press conference, wherein he admitted, “At the end of the day, I lied because I was embarrassed. I did not want to get caught.”
Following Weiner’s confession, more specific details were revealed regarding his relationships. The scandal was exacerbated when it was discovered that he had personally tweeted a 17-year-old high school student. Though there was no evidence that the exchange between the two was inappropriate, it was enough to force Weiner to take a congressional leave of absence.
Ultimately, however, Weiner determined that his resignation was the best approach to the scandal; had he remained, the House Ethics Committee would have launched a full investigation into the incidents.
In announcing his resignation, Weiner said, “I got into politics to help give voice to the many people who simply did not have one. Now I’ll be looking for other ways to contribute my talents to make sure that we live up to that most New York and American ideal.”
According to the New York Times Magazine, Weiner has spent the majority of his time since his resignation as his son’s primary caretaker. “This is what happens after a scandal: Ranks are closed and the world shrinks to a tiny dot. It is a life in retreat.”
The fact that Weiner agreed to engage in such a long interview seems to indicate that he and his wife Huma Abedin are looking to give voters what they want: a glimpse into his life post-scandal.
“People are generally prepared to get over it," he said, "But they don’t know if they’re prepared to vote for me. And there’s a healthy number of people who will never get over it." He added, "It’s a little complicated because I always attracted a fairly substantial amount of people who didn’t like me anyway."
The magazine noted that in addition to his desire to shake off the stigma created by his scandal, Weiner’s ambitions for the mayoral seat are also motivated by the $4.3 million in the Anthony Weiner for Mayor fund, plus approximately $1.5 million in public matching funds if he were to run in 2013 — thus making him one of the “better financed candidates in the race.”
Photo of Anthony Weiner: AP Images