Anthony Weiner Enters Mayoral Race In 2nd Place

NEW YORK (AP) -

Anthony Weiner’s run for mayor began with a video announcement late Tuesday that he’s in the New York City mayoral race.

“I made some big mistakes and I know I let a lot of people down, but I also learned some tough lessons,” he said in the video. “I’m running for mayor because I’ve been fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it my entire life. And I hope I get a second chance.”

Weiner’s quest to lead America’s biggest city comes as a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday places him second in the pack for the Democratic nomination. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has 25 percent, followed by Weiner, with 15 percent.

Two other contenders, former City Comptroller Bill Thompson and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, are at 10 percent each.

The Democrat is jumping into a crowded field for September’s primary with some significant advantages, including a $4.8 million campaign war chest, the possibility of more than $1 million more in public matching money, polls showing him ahead of all but one other Democrat — and no end of name recognition.

His participation makes a runoff more likely, and many political observers feel he could at least get to the second round. He also has released a platform of sorts, a list of 64 ideas styled as a blueprint for helping the city’s middle class thrive.

The suggestions range from giving every public school student a Kindle reader to using Medicaid money to create a city-run, single-payer health system for the uninsured. He wants to make more use of a federal cigarette-smuggling law, would create a “nonprofit czar” in city government, and eliminate paid positions for parent coordinators in schools.

“Anybody who underestimates Anthony Weiner’s ambition is a fool. And anybody who underestimates his ability as a candidate is a fool,” retired Hunter College political science professor Kenneth Sherrill said. But “we’re going to see, basically, if Weiner can take hits as well as he can dish them out.”

In seeking a second chance from the public, Weiner will have to overcome some voters’ misgivings. In a recent NBC New York-Marist Poll, half said they wouldn’t even consider him, though the survey also showed that more registered Democrats now have a favorable than unfavorable impression of him.

“I don’t kid myself. I know that this is going to be a difficult slog, and I’m going to have to have a lot of difficult conversations with people along the way,” the former congressman said by phone Wednesday.

“I think I have something to contribute. And I think that it’s up to New Yorkers to decide whether I get a second chance or not, and I hope the answer’s yes,” the Democrat added.