Anthony Weiner Confirms Interest in Mayoral Race

Anthony Weiner at a Brooklyn Nets game a few months ago. (Photo: Getty)
Anthony Weiner at a Brooklyn Nets game a few months ago. (Photo: Getty)

Early this morning, The New York Times Magazine published an extensive, 8,400-word profile of former Congressman Anthony Weiner, his wife Huma Abedin and their life since an infamous social media-induced scandal destroyed his political career. The piece directly addressed the topic most political observers are interested in: “Weiner quickly put all the speculation to rest: he is eyeing the mayor’s race.”

“I don’t have this burning, overriding desire to go out and run for office,” Mr. Weiner told the publication. “It’s 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.”

Mr. Weiner seemed genuinely unsure whether or not he should pull the trigger on another political campaign. Part of it, he explained, was based on whether the public was willing to give him “a second chance” after he admitted several digital affairs and resigned in disgrace in 2011. He conducted polling earlier this year and found the voters were willing to forgive him but not necessarily willing to vote for him, especially with a number of qualified competitors. Mr. Weiner did take a jab at the front-runner Council Speaker Christine Quinn, however, for extending term limits in 2009 and enabling Michael Bloomberg to run for a third term atop City Hall.

“I know them all. I like them all,” he said of his hypothetical opponents. “The term-limits thing, as an issue, was a deal breaker for me. But, I think the polls are right: Chris Quinn is leading, and then someone will get into a runoff with her. I don’t like runoffs.”

Mr. Weiner was also open to running for another office instead, but there aren’t a lot of options with only three citywide offices. He had “privately dismissed at least public advocate,” leaving only the comptroller’s race apparently on the table.

“Maybe,” he said as to whether he’d consider another position as a stepping stone towards Gracie Mansion. “I’m definitely not making eight-year bank-shot plans.”

Fundamentally, Mr. Weiner is sure to be gauging the reaction to The Times‘ profile–which goes into print next Sunday–as he makes the decision, which, thanks to his pre-scandal campaign cash stockpiling and the media’s interest in his post-scandal political brand, would all-but-guarantee shaking up the race. The former congressman, once an outspoken firebrand in Washington but now a relative recluse in Manhattan, said there were other factors worth considering as well.

“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?” he asked himself. “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?”

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