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CNHI News Service

July 19, 2012

Weiner considering comeback

   Just 13 months after succumbing to a scandal that involved pictures of his crotch being broadcast for the world to see and repeated lies about it, those close to former congressman Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., are talking about a comeback.

   A New York Post report started the chatter this weekend, and the New York Times followed with an article Monday citing Weiner's friends, who said he is considering his options when it comes to a run for either New York City public advocate or even mayor in 2013.

    Nobody doubts that politicians can overcome scandals involving sex and lies; we've seen it at the highest levels (Bill Clinton, anyone?).

   But the question for Weiner is how soon is too soon.

   When it comes to scandal, timing is everything. More specifically, the longer you can lie low after your scandal, the more people will forget about it or open their hearts to forgiving you.

  Weiner's situation, though, presents an uneasy choice.

   Although he would undoubtedly benefit from some more time spent below the radar mending the wounds he inflicted upon himself and others (specifically his family), the 2013 mayoral contest may prove irresistible for several reasons.

    First, the seat hasn't been open for more than a decade. If he doesn't run this time, he could very well be waiting eight or 12 years for another open race.

    Second, the current crop of candidates is rather undistinguished. None of the four big-name contenders for the job raised more than $800,000 over the past six months, according to recently filed fundraising reports, and a poll in April showed that 30 percent of New Yorkers were undecided. (We should emphasize that it's early, but the fact is that there is an opening for someone else right now.)

That crowded field also means the threshold for victory is considerably lower than it might otherwise be. In other words, as long as Weiner can convince 35 percent of New York Democrats that he's a changed man (or if they never cared in the first place), that might be good enough. He doesn't need anything close to majority support.

   Given all that, a run for mayor may prove too tempting to pass up for Weiner, who has been eyeing such a campaign for the better part of a decade.

 

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