It was just a matter of time before former Congressman Anthony Weiner reappeared in politics. It was clear from the day of his resignation in 2011 that the man who could have easily been the textbook definition of “career politician” – knowing nothing else in his adult life but the political arena – would make a return to service. If not as an elected official, then as an appointed one. If not as an appointed one, then perhaps a consultant, or cable channel talking head, a la Eliot Spitzer.
Weiner is not back, at least not publicly, but one “mysterious pollster” is calling around to gauge Weiner’s chances at citywide elected office.
According to Capital Tonight, which broke the story, the pollster is sizing Weiner up against the other Democratic mayoral candidates:
This poll respondent said the call came from Mountain West Research (which I believe is an Idaho-based call center), but with a 212 area code.
The questions included favorable/unfavorable feelings for Weiner as well as for the five Democrats already running or assumed to be running for mayor – NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, NYC Comptroller John Liu and former NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson.
Also, the pollster read a series of negative statements on each candidate, and then asked the “horserace” question. According to the UWS Dem, who took notes during the call, the negatives on each were as follows:
– Quinn: Rubber stamp for Mayor Bloomberg, voted to extend term limits, involved in a slugh fund scandal, known for “backroom” deals.
– de Blasio: Will say anything at any time, flip flops on key issues like term limits.
– Liu: Subject of a federal investigation, his campaign treasurer was arrested, he was subpoenaed to testify.
– Thompson: The NYC schools failed when he was in charge, ran a lackluster campaign for mayor in 2009, failed to pay his taxes for five years.
– Weiner: Was disgraced for sending lewd pictures and then lying about it, is a career politician who some say doesn’t have the temperament to be mayor.
Capital Tonight also notes that another call from a pollster – perhaps the same one – pits Weiner against Scott Stringer for the city Comptroller seat. If the mayoral race is out of the question, the comptroller’s position is often seen as a stepping stone for a future mayoral run.
Weiner resigned in 2011 after it was revealed that he was “sexting” with women other than his wife. Before his resignation, the pol was widely considered to be a front runner to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg and put together a warchest of $4 million – which he still maintains today and exceeds many of the current mayoral contenders’ campaign cash. When asked in July about his future plans, he refused to rule out a run for public office.
Weiner’s ambitions before he resigned were hardly a secret, and he famously told Mayor Bloomberg, “When I become mayor, you know what I’m going to spend my first year doing? I’m going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your fucking bike lanes.”