Anthony Weiner, the long-time New York City congressman, was gearing up for a possible run for mayor when Monday's social media firestorm hit.
In an unexpected bombshell announcement, the married Weiner tearfully announced Monday afternoon that he had sent racy online messages to six women over the last three years.
The controversy started roughly two weeks ago, when a picture of a man in briefs with a visible bulge was sent to a 21-year-old Seattle college student from Weiner's Twitter account.
Once allegations that the congressman sent the lewd photograph began to emerge, Weiner denied that it was him, claiming that his account had been hacked.
As members of the media continued to press him on the subject, he said that he could not say with "certitude" that the picture was not of him.
Weiner's own uncertainty about the origins of the photo turned the social-media gaff into a national story.
In the last few days, Weiner has skipped scheduled and unscheduled public appearances, including the Israel Day parade, an event that Weiner regularly attends.
Weiner, despite his current surge in national infamy, has been a longtime player in New York politics.
A Brooklyn native and current Queens resident, Weiner has maintained his Congressional seat since he won it in 1998.
In 2005 he undertook a campaign for mayor, casting himself as the champion of the middle class. But his efforts were unsuccessful and he dropped out of the race and backed opponent Fernando Ferrer who ultimately lost to incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Weiner, 46, married 34-year-old longtime aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, in July.
Abedin is no stranger to sex scandals herself. She served as an aide to Clinton while her husband, former President Bill Clinton, dealt with his sex scandal involving Monica Lewinsky.
Weiner's first elected position came after working in then-Congressman Charles Schumer's' Washington and Brooklyn offices, when he became what was at the time the youngest person ever elected to City Council.
When Schumer vacated his spot to run for the Senate in 1998, Weiner decided to vie for his old boss' seat and won.
After the September 11th terror attacks, Weiner was the only New Yorker appointed by the Democratic leader to serve on the Homeland Security Task Force.
He currently sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
He had been considered a potential frontrunner in the upcoming race for mayor due to his high poll numbers and strong fundraising, but his future is now less clear.