Behind in the Polls, Weiner Plays on New Yorkers’ Sympathies

The scandal-plagued mayoral candidate is making a defiant appeal to voters to save his flagging campaign

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ANDREW KELLY / EPA

New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner speaks to reporters during a press conference where he admitted to sending sexually explicit text messages in New York City, on July 23, 2013

In a video emailed to supporters last week, mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner made a plea to New York voters. “I know that there are newspaper editors and other politicians that say, boy I wish that guy Weiner would quit,” he said into the camera. “They don’t know New York, [they] certainly don’t know me. Quit isn’t the way we roll in New York City. We fight through tough things.” But “tough” doesn’t even begin to describe Weiner’s predicament.

After revelations that Weiner had continued to exchange lewd messages with strangers over the internet a year after he resigned from Congress over similar behavior, a Quinnipiac University poll of likely Democratic primary voters showed Weiner dropped ten points from front-runner to fourth place.

In an attempt to rescue his floundering campaign, Weiner has positioned himself as the persecuted underdog, a perception he hopes can repair his relationship with an electorate still reeling from his latest scandal.

(MORE: Weiner Scandal Puts Clinton Political Machine to the Test)

“It’s the only strategy left to him,” says Bill Cunningham, a political consultant and former communications director for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “He is playing to New Yorkers who like an underdog, who like a scrappy fighter, but he is not talking to any body’s real needs.”

With a little more than a month to go before the Democratic primary, Weiner’s David-versus-Goliath campaign narrative seems to be gaining some traction with African-American voters. The Quinnipiac poll showed that likely black voters were more willing to give Weiner the benefit of the doubt—52% thought he should drop out of the race compared with 64% of white voters. And 24% of black voters said they would vote for Weiner compared with 16% of the total number of likely Democratic voters.

At a campaign forum in Queens last week, a largely African-American audience booed when Republican candidate George McDonald called Weiner a “self-pleasuring freak,” according to a report from The New York Times. And over the weekend, Weiner was “mobbed” like a celebrity by mostly black supporters at the Jamaica Arts and Music Summer festival in Jamaica, Queens, according to the New York Daily News.

“Anthony is playing to that to a certain degree, saying I’m just like you, I’m an underdog too and some can identify with that because that syndrome is so deep in our community,” says Herb Boyd, a reporter for the New York Amsterdam News and a professor of Black Studies at the City College of New York.

(MORE: A History Of “Sl#tb*g,” the Latest Unflattering Word Associated With Anthony Weiner)

But observers of the race say that sympathy from black voters may not translate into votes on September 10. Bill Thompson, the only African-American candidate, is expected to pick up a large share of black support. On July 28, Thompson roused his base with a speech tying George Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin to the New York Police Department’s “stop-and-frisk” policy, which critics say institutionalizes racial profiling.

Thompson won the endorsement of the New York Amsterdam News, the city’s leading African-American paper, which also called for Weiner to drop out of the race. Boyd, who voted on the endorsement, is confident that “African Americans, the majority, are going to go with Bill Thompson because of the identity piece.”

Ruben Diaz Jr., the Bronx Borough President and a Thompson supporter, says that African-American and Latino voters are only just now starting to get engaged in the race and will ultimately back Thompson. “We are a community who understands personal turmoil, we understand redemption, we understand forgiveness, [but] that is different than wanting Weiner to represent us as mayor of New York,” he says. “We trust Bill, we know his history.”

(MORE: Anthony Weiner’s Brutal Week)

Weiner might not even be black voters’ second choice. Bill de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, has made inroads with his outspoken stance against the closure of city hospitals and his personal life (his wife is African-American). John Liu, who has called for the abolishment of stop-and-frisk (Thompson has stopped short, calling instead for reform) and showed up at a large number of African American community events “might be a candidate to watch,” says Nayaba Arinde, an editor at the Amsterdam News. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who leads most polls, did not try for the paper’s endorsement, according to editors, and has faced criticism over her ties to Bloomberg.

Political analysts say early polling doesn’t accurately reflect voting patterns because most voters are not yet fully engaged. That gives candidates with high name recognition like Weiner an early, but fleeting edge. “Weiner seems to be polling surprisingly well among minority communities, but the campaign looks like its deflating and as more and more black voters find out that Bill Thompson is black, it is going to shift,” says Doug Muzzio, a pollster and political science professor at Baruch College who specializes in voting behavior. “He would have to get sizable percentage of that vote to be competitive, and he ain’t going to get it.”

Meanwhile, Weiner’s campaign continues to be beset by indignities. At the Ecuadorian parade on Sunday, he marched to chants of “Carlos Danger,” his sexting pseudonym. Weiner’s former online paramour, Sydney Leathers, just released a short online sex film, holding a fake New York newspaper with the headline “Weinergate” under her bare breasts. And pranksters have begun to post fake advertisements for interns requesting “no slutbags”—a reference to the language Weiner’s Communications Director used to describe an intern last week. Right now it seems unlikely that a twinge of sympathy from any group of New Yorkers will save him.

MORE: Wife at His Side, Weiner Admits to More Online Sex Chats

19 comments
ChristopherLondon
ChristopherLondon

George McDonald, the CEO of the DOE Fund is a Bloomberg loyalist, Tammany Hall tool and faux candidate who is in this race as a payback for Bloomberg's bribing him and his charity with $10 million dollars; a charity which pays him and his family seven figures annually. McDonald used the AARP Forum as a political grandstanding opportunity as his campaign is imploding and literally running on fumes from a total lack of support. He extoled his own 'values' after stalking, smearing, taunting & baiting Anthony Weiner for the better part of a week. McDonald made a B-Line and stood in Weiner's face angrily seeking a confrontation and gain the attention of the cameras. Weiner at wits end from the long shot Republican candidate's repeated harassment gave in and dismissed the belligerent & disrespectful old buzzard as 'Grandpa' and questioned whether he had anger management issues. .

Immediately, McDonald had what he wanted the ability to stand in front of the cameras posing as a victim, when he is really a BULLY of a Junkyard Dog who deserves to be put down before he bites again.

Charlie468
Charlie468

The guy has an absolute lock on the pathetic vote.

Charlie468
Charlie468

Weiner: "please cuddle and comfort me otherwise I will have to play with myself". This whole thing is bizarre.

sacredh
sacredh

Weiner is counting on a swelling in support. And then reality reared it's ugly head.



PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1

Dear Mr. Weiner:

Go away.

Sincerely, America

Harleycat
Harleycat

Weiner:  "Quit isn't the way we roll in New York City."  Hmm, then why did you quit Congress?

ishallbefree
ishallbefree

Re the City of New York seriously considering electing this man as their mayor:

“Democracy is that system of government under which people, having 60,000,000 native born adults to choose from, including thousands who are handsome and many who are wise, pick out a Coolidge to be head of state. It is as if a hungry man, set before a banquet prepared by master cooks and covering a table an acre in area, should turn his back upon the feast and stay his stomach by catching and eating flies.” - H.L. Mencken

Is Weiner really the best you can do, New York New York?

paulejb
paulejb

Anyone who opposes Carlos Danger is anti-Hispanic.

paulejb
paulejb

Carlos Danger aka Tony Weiner: 'Stop me before I sext again. Electing me mayor is my only hope.'

cent-fan
cent-fan

Well he's certainly pathetic, so I guess he's got that going for him...  ?

MrObvious
MrObvious

If Wiener didn't spend so much time uploading pics of his pole, he wouldn't be behind in the polls.

Lets just hope he gives up and fix his issues. This one is done.

IrishinToronto
IrishinToronto

I'd suggest he launch a social media campaign, but.....

drjohncarlucci
drjohncarlucci

“Weiner seems to be polling surprisingly well among minority communities, but the campaign looks like its deflating and as more and more black voters find out that Bill Thompson is black, it is going to shift,” says Doug Muzzio

----

Thought process:

"Guess I'll vote for Weiner because, well, I like hot dogs and he's in the news a lot. But wait a sec...the other guy is black so I'll vote for him 'cause he's got skin like me."

JohnFrum
JohnFrum

Weiner is terribly mistaken - he doesn't need the mayoralty, he needs 5 years of intensive psychotherapy to hopefully get some at least some minimal altitude ofl vision past his incredible narcissism

Weiner's bid for mayor is a sign of his disease - not an answer to his prayers and most certainly not a path for his cure

Until then Weiner is as dangerous as any sociopathic narcissist around - to his family as well as New York

Until this predator gets some help the voters need to make sure he is not in a position where his disease will only worsen

Charlie468
Charlie468

@Harleycat That was his most ... sorry words escape me....most lame comment in the past many weeks.


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