Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, who resigned from Congress amid scandal nearly two years ago, has formally announced his return to politics in a new web video released early Wednesday.
In the two-minute video Weiner talks about his middle class upbringing in New York City and promotes an economic fairness agenda that is reminiscent of the messages President Obama touted on the campaign trail during much of the 2012 election.
Weiner makes only one short reference to the scandal that erupted after he was caught sending lewd images to a college student over Twitter, saying: “I made some big mistakes and I know I let a lot of people down, but I also learned some tough lessons. I’m running for mayor because I’ve been fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it my entire life, and I hope I get a second chance to work for you.”
Weiner’s wife, longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, appears briefly and speaks only once in the video, saying, “We love this city, and no one will work harder to make it better than Anthony.”
Parts of the video may have been shot as recently as last week, when NBC New York caught Weiner and Abedin sitting on the front steps of a Brooklyn home with a camera crew.
There has been much speculation surrounding a possible mayoral run for the Democrat since he emerged from relative seculson following the scandal. Weiner emerged from from political hibernation six weeks ago with a profile in the New York Times Magazine in which Abedin revealed she had forgiven Weiner for the mistake.
Weiner will join a crowded field in the Democratic primary set for this September, but he comes with some key advantages, including a nearly $5-million war chest and name-recognition. A poll released mere hours after the video announcement showed Weiner running in second place against the other Democratic candidates he would face in September’s primary. He garnered 15% of the vote and trailed frontrunner City Council Speaker Christine Quinn who won 25%. Those numbers are little changed from April.
If successful, Weiner would become the second high profile politician to successfully return to politics in 2013. Two weeks ago, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford successfully regained his old congressional seat in Washington after having been disgraced and run out of office when he was caught lying and out of the country in an extramarital affair.