NEW YORK – Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, whose once-shining political career collapsed after lewd online relationships with women forced him to resign from Congress, entered New York’s mayoral race Wednesday with promises to make the city “the middle-class capital of the world.”
Weiner made his announcement via a video posted on YouTube overnight, ensuring he would not be subjected to the heckling that erupted when he held a news conference to announce his resignation in June 2011. Unlike that event, when Weiner stood alone to address the city, in the video his wife, Huma Abedin, appears beside him and speaks on his behalf.
The video, in which the 48-year-old Weiner portrays himself as a family man, opens with a scene of Weiner helping Abedin feed their toddler breakfast at home.
“Look, I know I made some big mistakes, and I know I let a lot of people down, but I also learned some tough lessons,” he says.
Weiner’s resignation followed embarrassing revelations of online relationships with several women and lies he told to try to cover his tracks. Ten days after confessing that he had sent sexually provocative messages to women, including photographs of his crotch, he quit the office he had held since 1999.
Weiner, a Democrat, joins a race that includes several candidates with high name recognition who have been campaigning for months. The primary is in September, and the election to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg is in November.
Weiner’s candidacy had been expected, and a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday showed him in second place to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, with 15 percent supporting him in the Democratic primary compared to Quinn’s 25 percent. The same poll showed that 49 percent of respondents felt that Weiner should not run for mayor, compared with 38 percent who supported his candidacy and 12 percent who were undecided.