Anthony Weiner set out to reintroduce himself to voters Thursday as he embarked on his mayoral bid. He found a much more supportive reception in his first campaign stop than he did from his party’s leadership, who bluntly criticized his candidacy a day earlier.
Residents greeted the Democratic candidate at a Harlem subway station with handshakes and plenty of concerns — about teacher contracts, manufacturing jobs, the problems of the mentally ill and other public policy issues.
Weiner seemed to relish his first time stumping since his last congressional race in 2010, answering voters and a throng of reporters with a combination of enthusiasm about airing his ideas for the city and occasional flashes of the wisecracking demeanor for which he was known in D.C.
“If citizens want to talk to me about my personal failings, that’s their right, and I’m going to do everything I can to answer them,” he said. But “frankly, I think most New Yorkers, particularly those in the middle class in communities like this, they want to talk about the solutions to the challenges that New York City faces. That’s what they care about, and I want to try to provide some answers.”
After about a month of maybes, Weiner officially launched his comeback campaign with a video posted online late Tuesday. However he does when the polls close, he’s certain to add drama to the heated race to succeed
term-limited Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday it would be a “shame” if Weiner were elected mayor.
Speaking to editors at the Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper, the governor, who also leads the state Democratic Party, said that if Weiner won, “Shame on us.”
On Wednesday, he pointedly stayed away from the topic. Asked to comment on Weiner’s candidacy, he answered: “None. No reaction. None.”
With less than four months left before the primary, Weiner also is confronting some clear challenges.
A Quinnipiac poll found that 49 percent of city voters think he shouldn’t even run. He has only recently hired campaign staffers, and some influential players in Democratic politics have already endorsed other contenders. Weiner said he’d made calls Wednesday to some community leaders and officials to tell them about his candidacy but didn’t ask them for endorsements.