NEW YORK – Anthony Weiner pressed ahead with his bid for mayor Wednesday despite growing calls for him to drop out over a new sexting scandal, saying the campaign is too important to abandon over “embarrassing personal things” becoming public.
Rivals, newspaper editorial pages and at least one former New York congressional colleague urged the Democrat to quit the race a day after he acknowledged exchanging raunchy messages and photos online even after the same sort of behavior destroyed his congressional career two years ago.
“I think he should pull out of the race. I think he needs serious psychiatric help,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.
Weiner brushed off such calls and kept up his campaign schedule. He was greeted with boos as he took the stage to speak at a public housing meeting Wednesday evening, but by the end of his remarks, the crowd loudly cheered.
“I thought these things would come out by the end of the campaign, and some of them have. Look, I am pressing forward, running a campaign about the issues, and I’m getting a good response,” he said afterward.
The latest scandal erupted Tuesday after the gossip website The Dirty posted X-rated messages and an explicit photo it said he sent to a woman last year while using the online alias “Carlos Danger.”
At a news conference Tuesday evening, Weiner, who has been a favorite in the polls since he launched his political comeback attempt in late May, stood beside his clearly uncomfortable wife, Huma Abedin, and said he hoped the voters would give him another chance.
Abedin, a longtime adviser to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, reaffirmed her love and support for her husband and said the matter was “between us.”
Two of the city’s major newspapers, The New York Times and the Daily News, said the 48-year-old Democrat had exhausted his opportunities for forgiveness with his latest indiscretions.
“The serially evasive Mr. Weiner should take his marital troubles and personal compulsions out of the public eye” and the mayoral race, the Times wrote.
The Daily News declared Weiner to be “lacking the dignity and discipline that New York deserves in a mayor,” and said “his demons have no place in City Hall.”
At least three of his mayoral rivals, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former City Councilman Sal Albanese, both Democrats, and billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis, a Republican, said he should drop out.
“Anthony’s presence in this race has become a never-ending sideshow that is distracting us from the debate of the serious issues of this election,” de Blasio said.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, Weiner’s strongest rivals in the polls, criticized him but didn’t directly call on him to quit.
Thompson said that Weiner should “think about the people of this city and make the right decision,” while Quinn said that it is up to Weiner and his family to decide whether he should end his run, but New Yorkers “need a mayor whose is sole focus isn’t self-aggrandizement.”