NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner reportedly wants back into public life, but is it too soon for a political comeback?
Weiner resigned in June of 2011 in the wake of a Twitter sex scandal after lewd pictures he sent to at least six women surfaced. That prompted numerous calls from colleagues for the embattled lawmaker to step down.
Weiner initially denied sending a salacious photo over Twitter, saying his account had been hacked. He then modified his story, calling it a prank. In short order, though, the true scope of the situation became clear.
“Weinergate,” as it came to be known, even prompted a company to build an anatomically correct Anthony Weiner doll.
But now, the former congressman is reportedly talking to friends about a 2013 comeback, possibly running for mayor or public advocate and the friends are making the idea public to see how it flies with New Yorkers.
“No question, but this is a trial balloon to see if the public will say ‘Anthony, lets get going’ or ‘Anthony, stay home,'” political consultant Hank Sheinkopf told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
Weiner has the money to run for office. He raised $4.5 million for a mayoral run before the scandal, but his reported comeback dreams have stunned some in the political world.
One highly placed political told CBS 2 that a year is not long enough for Weiner to pay his dues.
“Anthony should shut his mouth and lay low,” he said.
Others have said that a city-wide office like mayor or public advocate is reaching for the stars, adding that if he wants back into to public life, Weiner should set his sights lower.
“Hard to see him as a mayoral candidate,” said Sheinkopf. “Why? Too soon. Public advocate? More likely than mayor, but a borough president? That’s an easy one.”
Weiner has dipped one toe back into public life, talking about health care on WNYC radio. He was asked about his inglorious exit from politics.
“I still have regrets,” he said. “I paid a very high price, but I’m still committed to the same things I was. As I’ve said, when I resigned, I feel great regret for the people I’ve let down.”
But Congressman Steve Israel told WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs that he has personally spoken with Weiner and said Weiner told him he has no interest in renewing his political life.
“I actually spoke with him to ask him about these rumors and he said that he has no intention, desire or interest in running for any of the offices that have been mentioned,” Israel said.
Experts say if Weiner does try to make a political comeback, he might have a better shot if he runs in Brooklyn or Queens because voters there will have first hand knowledge of his record of accomplishments. He represented areas of both boroughs in Congress.
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