Anthony Weiner still holds the record for the most spectacular and salacious demise of a New York mayoral bid. Two months away from the 2013 Democratic primary he was leading the polls; then Sydney Leathers emerged with sexting from Weiner, who also admitted to having sexually-oriented online relationships with at least three other women, who were not all his wife, Huma Abedin, and all of this happened two years after Weiner left Congress for equally vulgar reasons. He finished fifth, with less than 5% of the votes.
Scott stringer should do better in two weeks. If he doesn’t, and no other shoe falls off, it will be thanks to what is set to become one of the strangest controversies that has ever derailed a major contender. In April, advance survey showed Stringer, the city controller, lagging behind Andrew Yang and Eric Adams, but on the hunt; he had recently received two major mentions, the Working Families Party and the United Federation of Teachers. (Stringer’s proposal to hire a large number of new teachers may have something to do with it.) Jean Kim approached accuse Stringer of sexual harassment in 2001, when Kim worked unpaid for Stringer’s unsuccessful run in public defense.
Stringer vigorously denied the accusation, when it surfaced and since: “It never happened,” he told me. No other woman or man has accused Stringer of abuse; The interception drilled a few holes in Kim’s account and raised questions about the Lawyer motivations the representative. But the political damage to Stringer was swift and significant: the The WFP did not approve it, as did a series of elected officials. Media coverage of the race either disappeared or mostly treated Stringer’s campaign as dead in the water.
Still, his poll numbers haven’t completely collapsed, with a sizable slice of black voters alongside Stringer. He added approvals from a few other unions; this week, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York Votes PAC ranked it as his second choice, after Catherine garcia. Stringer’s progressive rivals believe he has no chance of winning but believe his continued presence helps more moderate Adams and Yang in divide the liberal vote. “Over the past 10 to 15 years, the progressive share of the Democratic electorate has fallen from 20 percent to one-third,” says Bruce gyory, a strategist who does not work with any of the current candidates. “You can’t split a third of the votes and make a big stick out of it.” Stringer’s most powerful funder, UFT, continues to run cute TV commercials to support him, but recently, according to the New York Post, The union sent a voting guide asking 80,000 members not to rank Adams or Yang on their ballots, which is either wise negativity or a sign that the teachers’ union is worried about Stringer’s prospects. “Maya wiley is the only progressive who can win, ”says one of his allies. “Diane morales was never going to win and his campaign imploded. And Scott is supported by a super PAC. “
Stringer says he will continue to keep his head down and stand up for his cause. Which is consistent with his 30-year career in the public service: Whatever charisma Stringer possesses is in his serious hesitation, knowledge of budgets and bike paths, 911 call data and housing subsidies (“If we have an incrementalist mayor who doesn’t know how to build affordable housing, we’re going to be screwed,” says Stringer). The pandemic has added an unwanted bond of sympathy with thousands of New Yorkers: her 86-year-old mother, Arlene, has died of coronavirus complications in April 2020. But the heart of Stringer’s call, as he relentlessly puts it, is that he would be “ready from day one” as mayor. He also launches sharper attacks on the former. “Adams made the decision to get the support of Republican billionaires who want to privatize education and municipal services,” Stringer said. “At the moment, he and Yang hang out with a bad crowd. (The two say they have nothing to do with contributing to the super PACs that support them.)
Eight years ago, Stringer used a final sprint to beat Eliot spitzer in the race of the controller. “Voters are always tuned in to the mayoral race, and I think there is a real possibility that a lot of them will come back to Scott,” said Rebecca Katz, one of Stringer’s best advisers. “A lot can happen in the past month, as evidenced by the last time.” The last time, in terms of having no incumbent in the mayoral contest, was in 2013, when Weiner immolated and Katz was working for a guy named Bill de Blasio, who made a charge of being late to town hall. A Stringer victory would be an even bigger surprise.
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