About 200 people attended a fundraiser Wednesday for former Rep. Anthony Weiner on the Upper West Side, an event that is the latest sign that Weiner is a serious candidate for mayor. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Anthony Weiner is near the fundraising finish line for the Democratic primary, but the newest candidate in the race for mayor is already looking beyond that.
"There's a general election to think about, maybe a runoff," Weiner said. "We're going to have the resources necessary to win the election."
A longtime family friend hosted the fundraiser, which was held at the Loi Restaurant on the Upper West Side.
Leonard Schwartz said Weiner made a mistake by sending lewd pictures of himself to women he met online, but Schwartz wants that mistake put in perspective.
"The balance of what he's done as a congressman and a city councilman, and what his thoughts are for the city of New York, it more than outweighs the problem that occurred," Schwartz said.
Schwartz is the chairman of the New York State Tobacco Association, but he said no one should assume that Weiner is a friend to the tobacco industry just because Schwartz hosted the event. Weiner emphasized to NY1 that Schwartz is a tobacco wholesaler, not a manufacturer.
"These are small businesses that get the tobacco to sell, so it's not like they are Philip Morris or anything like that. So it's drug stores, bodegas, newsstand operators. They are the smallest of the small businesses," Weiner said. "They are exactly the kind of people that I want to talk to in this campaign."
Weiner already has more than $4 million in his campaign war chest, money raised years ago in preparation for a run for mayor. He is now trying to tap new supporters to add more dollars to that pile.
"Anthony Weiner is the only candidate that's left at this moment," said Parveen Aggarwal, a Weiner supporter. "Because anybody else is looking out for themselves. Anthony Weiner is looking out for us."
"We've looked at his record, and not his personality, and his record has always been toward helping the regular person," said Frances Garthaffner, a Weiner supporter.
Weiner will need the help of a lot of those regular people if he wants a shot at winning City Hall.