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!
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • 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.