Disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner announced his candidacy Wednesday for mayor of New York City. But he will have a harder time than Rep. Mark Sanford did in staging a comeback.
Anthony Weiner is running for mayor of New York, less than two years after he resigned from Congress in disgrace over revelations about his extramarital, sexually explicit online exploits.
In a two-minute video released Wednesday morning announcing his mayoral candidacy, Mr. Weiner appears the quintessential family man. It starts with him and his wife, feeding their baby boy. At the end, his wife – Huma Abedin, aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton – appears again, sitting next to Weiner on a New York stoop, endorsing his candidacy.
Weiner himself acknowledges he made some “big mistakes” and asks for a “second chance.”
“I’ve let a lot of people down,” Weiner says. “But I’ve also learned some tough lessons.”
Surely, he has also taken to heart the lesson of former Gov. Mark Sanford (R) of South Carolina, newly elected to his old congressional seat in a remarkable political comeback. In 2009, then-Governor Sanford went AWOL to visit his mistress in Argentina, after suggesting he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. He finished his term, but his wife divorced him.
In New York, there are plenty of reasons to take Weiner’s candidacy seriously. He has more than $4 million in a campaign war chest (though it was reportedly raised mostly before his resignation), and his wife has stuck by him. A Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday morning puts Weiner second in a crowded Democratic field, behind City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, 25 percent to 15 percent. He is a tireless campaigner, and while his brash style in Congress put some people off, it might be a fit for the Big Apple.
On Weiner’s campaign website, he lists “64 Ideas to Keep New York the Capital of the Middle Class.”
But Weiner is no Mark Sanford. Let us count the ways:
• Weiner is trying to come back much sooner than Sanford did, two years versus four years.
• Weiner is aiming for a more prestigious job – mayor of the biggest city in the United States, currently held by Michael Bloomberg. Sanford had the good fortune of seeing his old congressional seat open up, allowing him to show a little humility as he ran for a job less prestigious than the governorship.