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It is the summertime and PolliticsToday is back in action! My finals week is over (had a great semester for all none of you who care) and its time to get this blog back in action.
So what better way to start than with the comeback of former Rep. Anthony Weiner to the political world? With the already successful comeback of Mark Sanford (more on him later), it seems that Weiner has been inspired to make a jump into the New York City mayoral race.
The race to be the one who succeeds three-term Mayor Michael Bloomberg got off slow (the election is this November) but early frontrunner City Council speaker Christine Quinn has slowly fallen from her perch at the top of the crowded field though according to a recent poll, she’s favored by 25% of voters (down from a high of 37% earlier in the year) ahead of Weiner (15%).
But Weiner, who has long craved the job to the be the Mayor of America’s largest city, appears (at least in his introductory video) to be trying to christen himself a changed man. The video begins with him holding his newborn son and stressing his role as a father and husband to wife Huma Abedin.
Of course, Weiner was originally best known as the fiery congressman who would often make impassioned populist rants on the House floor but in the summer of 2011 that all changed as Weiner had to resign due to a sex scandal. After initially denying that he sent Direct Messages of his …last name…. to a female follower on Twitter, Weiner came clean after a series of graphic phone transcripts and more pictures surfaced.
Since his resignation, Weiner held a fairly low profile as he presumably spent time at home but knowing Weiner, a comeback was widely expected. Regardless of the opinions of him, Weiner is someone who loves the spotlight and thinks of himself as someone who could make a difference. Part of the reason why he was popular amongst some was the fact that he was always willing to go on camera and blast politicians (Republicans and Democrats alike) for their rhetoric or votes.
But if Weiner is looking back at getting into the public spectrum, he will have a tough go at it. Thanks to his career and the scandal surrounding him, I’m fairly sure everyone in NYC knows who he is; there is nothing he can to do really introduce himself as people like Quinn and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio have done. Name recognition is always key to elections but sometimes it can hurt you especially if you are known for sexting. Weiner is going to have to deal with plenty of questions and likely innuendo regarding his personal life and will have to try to keep his temper under control.
Then again, Weiner does have some strengths. He has a humongous war chest of $5 million waiting to be used and he is one of the best speakers on the circuit. Neither Quinn, de Blasio nor 2009 Democratic nominee Bill Thompson are really known for their charisma either and Weiner could fill that gap there too.
Another interesting development is that their could very well (and likely will be) a runoff and as of now, it appears it would be between Quinn and Weiner. A runoff between the two could get very ugly though we’ll see how the challengers receive Weiner before we get to that.
Back to Mark Sanford though, the other sex scandal ridden candidate who actually won a Congress seat earlier in the month. If Weiner expects to have a similar outcome then he will have to dream a bit more. One thing is that while Sanford came across as desperate and appeared to be a pretty awful campaigner, you don’t have to Google him without worrying that a NSFW image will come up. The difference between Weiner and other sex scandals is that well….the public knows what every inch of Anthony Weiner’s body looks like. People probably don’t want to see their Mayor naked and that could hurt the former Rep.
Another difference is that this is a crowded field of people who have been running for the past couple months and while Weiner is getting into the race, he’s going to have to try and make the case that he can solve problems and not create them.
Both as of now, look highly difficult but let’s see what Weiner can do with his money first, shall we?