Two years after a sexting scandal forced him to resign his House seat, former congressman Anthony Weiner launched a campaign to run for New York mayor with a video announcement posted to YouTube May 21.
Weiner resigned from Congress in 2011 after he tweeted lewd photos of himself to women and lied about it, claiming his account had been hacked.
The Democratic candidate addressed the scandal in the campaign spot, and appealed to voters for a second chance.
“Look, I made some big mistakes and I know I let a lot of people down, but I’ve also learned some tough lessons,” Weiner says in the video. “I’m running for mayor because I’ve been fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it my entire life, and I hope I get a second chance to work for you.”
Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin–former top aide to Hillary Clinton—is prominently featured in the video. The spot opens with the pair having breakfast with their son, with whom Abedin was pregnant during the scandal, and ends with them sitting together on a stoop.
“We love this city, and no one will work harder to make it better than Anthony,” Abedin says.
Weiner said he would undoubtedly be issuing a lot more “mea culpas” throughout his campaign.
“Frankly, I know a part of this process is going to be doing a lot of apologizing,” he said May 22 on WNYC, a National Public Radio member station in New York.
“I’m not asking people to say forget it, it never happened,” Weiner added, but he hopes voters would “not only judge me on that” and would be “open to hearing” his ideas for empowering the middle class and helping the city of New York.
At least some New Yorkers seem willing to give Weiner another shot. The candidate, who represented Brooklyn and parts of Queens while in the House, trails City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in polls in the race for the Democratic nomination, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released May 22.
Quinn lead the pack with 25 percent, Weiner came in second at 15 percent, followed by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller William Thompson with 10 percent, Comptroller John Liu with 6 percent, former Council member Sal Albanese with 2 percent and 27 percent undecided.
“With former Congressman Anthony Weiner seeking the Democratic nod, it still looks like Council Speaker Christine Quinn against the guys,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in the press release announcing the poll results. “But where she once was brushing up against the magic 40 percent number that could get her past a run-off, the wear and tear of the campaign, and possibly the addition of Weiner, are taking a toll on the front-runner.”
But, Weiner will have many detractors, including Ginger Lee, a stripper who was one of the women involved in the sexting scandal.
“I do not think Anthony Weiner should run for Mayor of New York City because even now, nearly two years after this story broke, there are still details relating to other women that have not been exposed,” Lee said in a statement sent to Politicked.
“Each time Anthony Weiner deflects or obfuscates these details, my life and perhaps the lives of other women are made more difficult by the increased attention from the media.”
Lee, who during the height of the controversy claimed that Weiner had asked her to lie about lewd e-mails she reportedly received from him, said New York City “can do better.”
“I think that city of New York can do better than having a Mayor that is the butt of jokes and has been involved in scandal,” she said.