Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota is hoping the rising popularity of Democrat Anthony Weiner will galvanize his base, calling on supporters to send cash to help him in an expected November match-up.
Titled "Do you think he deserves a second chance?" Lhota's email seeks to exploit the scandal that led Weiner to drop out of politics in 2011.
"Like me, I’m sure that you had hoped to have seen the last of Anthony Weiner when he resigned from Congress following an illicit sexual Twitter scandal and botched cover up, but he’s back and desperate for political redemption," the former MTA chairman and past deputy mayor writes.
"Now a candidate for mayor of New York City, he is so determined to be back in the spotlight that he’s padding his resume with dubious claims like bragging that he coined the term “Obamacare.” ... He’s even bragging about facing me in the November election every chance he gets."
After just a month on the campaign trail, Weiner on Tuesday displaced the longtime frontrunner in the Democratic field, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, with 25 percent of registered Democrats' approval compared with 20 percent for Quinn in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted by Marist College.
The last Marist poll showed Weiner at only 15 percent trailing Quinn at 26 percent. Among the other major candidates, former Comptroller Bill Thompson was at 13 percent, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio at 10 percent and Comptroller John Liu at 8 percent. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percent.
"He clearly has survived the first phase of his reentry into elected politics," Marist College pollster Lee Miringoff told The Jewish Week. "When we did the previous [April] poll many Democrats were wiling to give him a second chance and I think he has been able to effectively utilize that. At a lot of forums the candidates have been attacking each other and he has been at the sidelines."
The poll saw Weiner's negative rating decline from 50 percent in the last poll to 41 percent. But the pitfall ahead is the increased flak that comes with frontrunner status.
"As he becomes more of a credibe candidate the negative and postives from the past will probably fade to some degree and he wil be looked at as a potential mayor," Miringoff said. "Right now a lot of discussions have to do with what he did [in 2011] and whether people think it matters. Increasingly he will be evaluated on how he would serve as mayor. Quinn took a lot of fire and it had a lot of impact."
With only 36 percent of Democrats saying they are firmly committed to their choice, Miringoff said the race at present seems "a very wide open contest.'
Jewish voters in the poll, who numbered 12 percent of the 689 registered Democrtas, or about 83 people, were closely divided between Weiner (20 percent), di Blasio and Quinn (19 percent each.) Thompson was favored by 16 percent, while Liu had just 6 percent of Jewish support.
In response to Lhota, Weiner told The Daily News "I’ve been getting hit by right-wing Republicans since the moment I got into public life."
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