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Weiner considers mayoral campaign

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner announces his resignation from Congress during a news conference in Sheepshead Bay on Thursday, June 16, 2011. Photo by Christina Santucci
Photo by Christina Santucci
By Steve Mosco

The scandal-scarred political career of former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner might be due for a revival after a Marist College poll revealed the ex-Forest Hills congressman ranks second among Democratic candidates running for mayor even though he has not entered the race.

According to the Marist poll released Tuesday, Weiner received the support of 15 percent of Democratic voters — placing him in second place after City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), the current front-runner.

Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, said Weiner’s possible entry into the race complicates the chances of other Democratic candidates like city Comptroller John Liu, former Comptroller Bill Thompson, city Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Councilman Sal Albanese.

“Right now a Weiner candidacy attracts double-digit support in the Democratic primary,” said Miringoff. “He makes it even more difficult for any of the Democratic contenders to reach the needed 40 percent to avoid a run-off.”

The Marist poll also found that when Weiner is not included in the Democratic primary field, Quinn and de Blasio are each 4 percentage points higher, while Thompson has three more percentage points of support.

Overall, the poll found that 40 percent of registered Democrats want Weiner to seek the mayor’s office, while 46 percent do not want him to run. Support for Weiner has risen since a similar Marist poll was conducted in October, when only 28 percent of Democrats wanted him in the race.

The poll came on the heels of an interview Weiner had with The New York Times Magazine last week in which the former congressman mulled a return to politics. In the interview, Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, a top aide to former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, discussed their life following his June 2011 resignation after revelations he sent racy pictures and text messages to women on social media platforms.

Weiner indicated he was considering a possible run for public office, but did not specify which one it might be.

At least one of Weiner’s former colleagues in borough government expressed some support for him as he weighed his future.

A spokesman for Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) said she thought Weiner was a good congressman and that she “wishes him the best in any decision he takes.”

Several of his potential opponents in the Democratic primary for mayor also welcomed him into the race. According to a report in the New York Post, Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota said he would be thrilled to see Weiner jump into the fray.

The former congressman, viewed as a strong contender for the mayor’s post before he resigned, has close to $4.5 million in his campaign war chest, according to the city Campaign Finance Board. The report also revealed Weiner had not received any monetary contributions since November 2009.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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