WASHINGTON, June 3, 2013 — Former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who resigned from Congress nearly two years ago after being caught sending lewd photos of himself to several young women, is now in the race for Mayor of New York City, attempting to prove that you can’t keep a good man down. Despite the twitter controversy surrounding the fiery former Congressman, he still has over $4 million in his campaign war chest, and has the highest name recognition amongst all the Democratic Mayoral candidates running.
So does Weiner really have a shot to become Gotham’s next mayor, a position that has not been filled by a Democrat in 23 years? Recent polling data shows Weiner, now 47, could still be a viable contender for the Democratic mayoral primary.
As a former member of Congress, Weiner was well known for speaking his mind. The congressman was not afraid to challenge Republicans on the House floor, especially on the controversial healthcare legislation and the war in Iraq. The challenge for Weiner will be to prove that he can bring that same passion to the mayor’s office.
Not having held any previous executive level position, Weiner’s obstacle will be to convince new era Democrats and Independents that he is ready to lead New York as a non-executive candidate. Primary voters have to believe that he is the best man to challenge any Republican contender in November.
Weiner’s mayoral aspirations reach back to 2005. Now that Weiner is in the 2013 race, he faces a serious contender and competitor, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is presumed to have the incumbent mayor’s lucrative financial support. She is also the only woman in the race.
Another obstacle for Weiner is the likelihood that more lewd photos could resurface in the social media as the election comes to a close. During a recent interview with former “Inside City Hall” host Dominic Carter, Weiner admitted that there is a possibility that there are other photos
of him, but presumably not his clothes, in cyber space, which could be a game changer for his campaign.
Although Weiner’s political brand has been tainted, he is a tireless campaigner, and his brash and outlandish personality might be a fit for New York. Still, a Quinnipiac poll, says 48 percent of New York voters do not want Weiner to run, especially 52 percent of women, many of whom would side with Quinn.
Polls suggest that the former Queens Congressman could potentially do well amongst middle-class voters. A recent campaign video announcing Weiner’s candidacy features his son, Jordan, and wife Huma Abedin, former chief of staff to Hillary Clinton, who has stuck by him and said that she forgives him over the recent scandal.
In a brief video, Weiner admits that he has made mistakes and let a lot of people down, but he adds that he learned his lessons along the way. When he announced in Harlem that he would attempt a political comeback, he referred to New York as America’s “second chance city”.
Weiner and other politicians today should avoid personal use of social media, including Twitter and Facebook, leaving control of their accounts in the hands of professional media consultants. The humiliation heaped on Weiner should convince not just public servants, but everyone to be cognizant of the risks of using this technology carelessly, but as much as Anthony Weiner became a late-night joke during his scandal, he should remain an object lesson for anyone who wants a career in public service.
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