Anthony Weiner's Democratic rivals didn't have much to say about his entry into the mayor's race Wednesday, seeking instead to steer the discussion back to their own candidacies. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
It was Anthony Weiner’s first day in the race for mayor, and already, his opponents seem to have tired of the topic.
"I'm glad he's made it official," said Democratic mayoral candidate John Liu. "Hopefully, this media circus will subside."
Asked at a Crain's New York Business candidate forum whether Weiner is qualified for mayor, nearly all of them dodged.
"It isn't for me to say," said Democratic mayoral candidate William Thompson. "It is up to the people of the city of New York."
"That's not a question for any of us to answer," said Democratic mayoral candidate Christine Quinn. "It's a question for the voters to answer."
"I think it will be up to the voters of New York," Liu said. "Honestly, I won't be voting for him."
Indeed, the Democrats are not just unwilling to attack Weiner, they seem to be trying to ignore him altogether. Only one candidate at Wednesday's forum, Sal Albanese, would say anything at all about Weiner. Even then, it ended up as a laugh line.
"I'm the only one who served with Anthony Weiner," Albanese said. "I was on the City Council with him. And he's just another career politician that's basically got some additional quirks, of course."
The candidates may want to steer the conversation away from Anthony Weiner, but there is no denying he profoundly alters the dynamics of the Democratic primary. He surely hurts some candidates' chances, but perhaps, he helps others.
Longtime political operative Bill Cunningham believes Weiner will siphon outer-borough, ethnic votes from Quinn and Bill de Blasio, possibly clearing a path for Thompson.
"Bill's about getting into the runoff, and I think this guarantees a runoff, and probably makes it more likely that Thompson will be in it," Cunningham said.
While clearly interested in who succeeds him, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, too, steered far clear of the Weiner questions.
"I'm not going to get involved," he said. "The public has a right to pick whoever they want, and if they find Anthony Weiner to be more competent, acceptable, than the others, that's who they'll vote for."
They'll indeed have that chance come September.