Anthony Weiner Could Win New York City Mayoral Election, Strategists Say

Weiner was caught sending sexy photos online, but could come back to be mayor.

ByABC News
April 10, 2013, 11:52 AM

April 10, 2013— -- Can infamous Twitter user and disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner make a political comeback and be elected mayor of New York?

Most political experts surveyed by believe he could.

"People are much more forgiving of errors relating to sex than those relating to money," said Mitchell Moss, a longtime New York political analyst and professor at New York University. "He can run as the outsider."

Weiner, 47, resigned from Congress in 2011 after tweeting lewd photos of himself to women and then publicly denying that the photos were of his body parts. He later confessed that he had taken the photos and sent the messages to women who were not his wife.

Now, Weiner is taking steps to reenter a political race with wife, Huma Abedin -- who is an aide to Hillary Clinton -- by his side. In an interview with New York Times Magazine, published online this morning, Weiner said he may consider running to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"To some degree, it's now or maybe never for me, in terms of running for something," Weiner told the magazine. "Also, I want to ask people to give me a second chance."

In March, Weiner spent more than $100,000 on polls gauging whether the public could forgive him -- and vote for him -- after the scandal.

"He wouldn't be doing this if there wasn't some indication he could. He's still an astute politician, and so is (Huma)," said Liz Benjamin, a political analyst for YNN's Capital Tonight. "(Huma) is such a close, guarded person, to put herself out there to this degree, there is something really big behind this. They are really thinking seriously about it."

Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic political strategist and consultant, said that Weiner's tentative moves with news stories and polling show that he could have a chance at winning.

"The first rule in politics is when in doubt, float a trial balloon into the air, and if no one punctures it, keep going. He flew the balloon, dominates the news, and the bad stuff that happened becomes less important than the people getting indicted tomorrow," Sheinkopf said, referring to a series of political bribery scandals that are implicating members of the City Council and the state Legislature.

"It's idiocy versus bribes and corruption. His ridiculous behavior matters less," Sheinkopf said.

Weiner withdrew from the public eye after his resignation, quietly continuing to live in Manhattan with Abedin, 37, and their 1-year-old son, Jordan. Abedin, meanwhile, continued to work on Hillary Clinton's staff.

Moss said that the idea of giving politician's a second chance after personal failures has become common in politics.

"Bill Clinton made it very acceptable for elected officials to have a second chance. The great legacy of Bill Clinton is that he's really given every elected official the chance at forgiveness," Moss said.

Weiner would enter a crowded Democrat field thick with current New York City administrators, including pack leader City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill DiBlasio, City Comptroller John Liu, and former comptroller Bill Thompson.

"The great irony is that he may run as a reformer, the guy to clean up government," Moss said. "He's not tied to any of the current scandals, and he may have the benefit of having his errors be personal, not political."

Other suggested that Weiner may be feinting towards the mayor's office, then lower his sites and run for city controller to ensure he wins a foothold in politics again.

"(He's either running for) mayor or comptroller. They both require his skill set. If he runs for mayor, it's a much more crowded field, with Chris Quinn and Bill DiBlasio. He'd be very competitive with both of them," Sheinkopf said.

Bill Lynch, who managed the campaign of former Mayor David Dinkins and now consults as a political strategist in New York, disagreed, saying that Weiner had no chance of winning the mayoralty.

"I'm trying to figure out where his base it at, who he has to share his base with, and it's Christine Quinn and Bill DiBlasio, and I don't know how all three of them would split the vote," Lynch said. "I don't even think he can get into a runoff."

Weiner will likely go for city comptroller instead, Lynch predicted.