Forward Thinking

Mayor Anthony Weiner? It Could Happen.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

  • Print
  • Share Share
getty images
Anthony Weiner

A ho-hum New York City mayoral race just got a whole lot more interesting.

Sext scandal-ridden former congressman Anthony Weiner announced, a few paragraphs into a laudatory New York Times Magazine profile, that he’s considering joining the crowded Democratic field.

That could shake up allegiances among New York City’s political clans, including some city Jews. And analysts warned against betting against Weiner, given his potent resume and proven vote-winning prowess.

“Before his difficulties, before his personal troubles, he was going to be mayor,” said Michael Tobman, a New York City-based political consultant, alluding to the pervading sense prior to Weiner’s 2011 scandal that he was the frontrunner in the mayoral race.

Weiner ceded that leading spot in the Democratic field to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. In a race without any Jewish candidates, Quinn and the progressive Public Advocate Bill De Blasio have been contending for the city’s non-Orthodox Jewish votes.

Quinn’s strength is in Manhattan, where her City Council district is located. De Blasio, who previously represented parts of Brooklyn in the City Council, has built support in Brooklyn and Queens.

“Weiner makes trouble for Public Advocate De Blasio and Speaker Quinn,” said Hank Sheinkopf, another New York City political consultant. “He’s got the right name and a history in the outer boroughs, in places where the bulk of the Jews live.”

Others said that it’s definitely De Blasio who has the most to lose.

“Weiner’s unlikely to break into Quinn’s base of support in Manhattan, as much as he is likely break into the votes that are ostensibly up for grabs in Brooklyn and Queens,” said another New York Democratic consultant.

Weiner would face Quinn, De Blasio, former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson, and New York City Comptroller John Liu, among other candidates, in the Democratic primary in September. A runoff would follow if no candidate receives more than 40% of the vote, which insiders believe is likely considering the fractured field.

While non-Orthodox voters may still be up for grabs, one political consultant said that it may be too late for Weiner to win ultra-Orthodox support. Orthodox leaders and activists have already committed to candidates, particularly De Blasio and Thompson.

“I don’t see how he comes in and carves out his slice” among the Orthodox, said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of the Friedlander Group, a political consultancy, who backs Quinn in the race. “At this late stage of the mayors race, it’s too late to solicit support when its already been pledged elsewhere.”

Few of the experts thought that Weiner’s mildly sordid scandal, in which he admitted to sending explicit photographs of himself to women he met online, would inhibit voters from backing him.

“The Orthodox community in particular is a very forgiving community,” said Friedlander. “Atonement and forgiveness is a part of our DNA.”

What remains to be seen, perhaps, is whether voters can be reminded of the progressive halo he once wore.

Weiner was a rising star of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party during the health care debate in 2011, and seemed capable of competing for votes across a wide spectrum of voters, Jewish and non-Jewish, in Manhattan and in outer boroughs.

“Let’s not forget, this is the guy during the [health care reform] debate who was on [the Rachel Maddow Show] every night,” Tobman said.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: new york, mayor, jewish, anthony Weiner

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.