Queens Congressman Anthony Weiner is hinting at plans of dropping out of the race for mayor after a letter sent to supporters was made public Wednesday. NY1's Michael Scotto filed the following report.
Is Congressman Anthony Weiner running for mayor? That's the question on the minds of the city's political observers after Weiner penned a letter suggesting he may sit this race out.
"I've always intended to run for mayor and I still do," said Weiner.
Still, Weiner says he's not going to formally make up his mind until this summer. In a letter to supporters, he said, "At the beginning of the summer when Congress takes a break, I will look at the lay of the land again and try to determine the best political course."
The congressman says he is now focused on his job in Congress.
"It just doesn't feel right to be out there knocking on doors, going to campaign rallies at a time when there is so much important work to be done in Washington," said Weiner.
But one veteran political watcher isn't buying what Weiner's saying.
Doug Muzzio believes the congressman doesn't want to go up against the billionaire, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and risk losing the city's top job twice in a row.
"Why raise money, take a beating, do your work in Congress, forget about it, wait until 2013," said Muzio.
Weiner ran in 2005 and came close to winning the Democratic nomination. For much of last year, he was seen as the frontrunner in the race to replace Mayor Bloomberg. But then Bloomberg changed the term limits law and decided to run for a third term. And with that, Weiner's chances at City Hall seemed to vanish.
The Bloomberg campaign, though, still publicly believes Weiner could be a contender, and in a statement took a swipe at the Democrat, saying quote, "For the mayor, it's not about choosing the best political course -- it's about doing the right things, making the tough decisions and showing real leadership."
"Mayor Bloomberg said something similar recently when he said it was too early for the campaign to begin and I guess we're on the same page on that," said Weiner.
But it's unclear if Weiner will be part of that campaign. If he's not, City Comptroller Bill Thompson may have a relatively easy shot at winning the Democratic nomination.
A not-so-well-known City Councilman, Tony Avella, is also in the running.
Letter From Congressman Anthony Weiner
I'm writing to say thank you and to update you on my thoughts about moving forward.
With your help our campaign has raised the maximum we are permitted to spend in the primary. Every public poll shows me leading the Democratic race and closing the gap on Mayor Bloomberg.
Some pundits and reporters have asked whether or not I was committed to waging this campaign, so I wanted to tell you my thinking directly.
Every day I am thinking about how I can help our city in these remarkably challenging times. That is why I fought so hard to make sure that the stimulus package had so much good news for New York and all those in the middle class and those struggling to make it. That's why this week, as part of the Democratic leadership team, I am hard at work making sure that President Obama's first budget gets passed with a strong emphasis on helping urban areas like ours.
Simply put: I'm doing my job.
Over the next months, the task of lifting our nation and our city out of the worst economic turmoil in 70 years will be - and I hope agree, should be - my top priority.
So you won't see me holding campaign rallies. You won't see me knocking on doors asking for votes.
There is a time for politics, but this is a time for problem solving. And boy do we have a lot of problems to solve in Washington today.
At the beginning of the summer when Congress takes a break, I will look at the lay of the land again and try to determine the best political course.
But I will be guided by the same principles that have directed me for my whole career. How can I help ensure that New York remains the capital of the middle class and a City of opportunity for all those trying to make it?
I'm confident in my strategy and timetable for deciding in part because I've been through it before. In 2005, pundits and strategists said I spent too much time talking about policy ideas, too much time doing my job in Congress, not enough time campaigning, and that I lacked too many important insider endorsements. Frankly, I wore those criticisms with pride. I still do.