Lightning may strike twice in 2013 for another scandal-plagued former congressman. This time it's Anthony Weiner who is hoping to win redemption in his bid to become mayor of New York City. Hoping to follow the path of former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who decisively won back a congressional seat he occupied a decade ago earlier this month, Weiner aspires to be the latest pol to be exonerated after a biting scandal crippled his political fortunes in 2011. Unlike Sanford, however, Weiner faces a bitter New York City electorate that seems reluctant to forgive, thus jeopardizing his mayoral bid and potentially throwing his future in politics into the void.
Weiner’s political peril first began in the summer of 2011, when a lewd public sexting scandal involving the then-congressman dubbed "Weinergate" was first uncovered by right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart. The subsequent slew of damning stories and jokes drawing parallels between Weiner’s last name and the content of the pictures he sent to a woman he met online almost certainly assured the end of a once-promising political career. Embarrassed and disgraced, Weiner resigned his seat in Congress in June of 2011, citing the distraction caused by "Weinergate" and his subsequent inability to fulfill his responsibilities to his constituents.
Weiner currently faces an uphill battle to securing the Democratic nomination in his bid for Gracie Mansion, with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn continuing to maintain a solid lead in the race for the Democratic nomination and the election in general. However, recent polls have assuaged concerns regarding the viability of a Weiner candidacy. In a Marist poll released Tuesday, Weiner had narrowed Quinn’s lead to only five points, garnering 19% of the vote to Quinn’s 24%. This result marks a major gain for Weiner, who trailed Quinn by 11 points in the same poll one month ago. While the numbers seem to be turning in in the former congressman’s favor, the complete electorate still seems to have serious reservations regarding Weiner’s character and past indiscretions.
Weiner acknowledged last week that more women might come forward with additional photos, emails, and inappropriate digital conversations that may have occurred prior to his 2011 resignation. He added that he was not asking people to forgive him or forget what he did, but rather simply asking them to hear what he had to say. While Weiner’s self-righteousness has allowed him to delude himself into believing that the voters of New York City are ready to forgive and forget, the final outcome of the primary election should decisively prove that his political career is over.