The likely removal of embattled congressman Anthony Weiner from the race for New York City mayor in 2013 would seem to boost the prospects for New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn, who would be the first woman and openly gay person to lead the nation's largest city.
The Associated Press reports on the fallout for Weiner, once a presumed mayoral front-runner, from the sexting scandal in which he denied, then admitted, sending explicit communications to six women online. He also said he exchanged messages with a 17-year-old girl, although he claims the content was not inappropriate. While a recent poll showed that a majority of voters in his district encompassing Brooklyn and Queens want the congressman to stay in office and not resign, another survey shows that more than half believe Weiner should not enter the race for mayor in 2013.
A Weiner withdrawal would leave at least five other Democratic contenders vying to attract his following of middle-class residents from the outer boroughs and wealthier Manhattanites who praise the congressman's unabashedly liberal stances. Although no one holds a lock on the nomination at this early date, Quinn leads the remaining contenders in fund-raising, where as of January she had amassed $3.2 million compared to $5.1 million for Weiner, giving her a significant edge over her next closest rival, Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer, who had raised $1.1 million.
"By that standard, Quinn is now the front-runner," reports the AP. "The historic nature of her as-yet-undeclared campaign -- if elected, she would be the first openly gay and the first female mayor -- could further help her as she raises more. Roughly one-third of her campaign donations have come from outside of the city."
On the other hand, her close working relationship with Mayor Michael Bloomberg could provide ammunition for rivals in a Democratic primary. The competition is expected to include former city comptroller Bill Thompson, who came within 50,000 votes of upsetting the mayor's controversial bid for a third term in 2009.
"Still, Quinn is faced with walking a tricky line," the AP continued. "Political insiders say she must retain the mayor's support -- the two often appear together at events, and Bloomberg praises her work -- yet distance herself from the Republican-turned-Democrat-turned-independent as he weathers what several analysts have termed third-term fatigue among dissatisfied voters."
In addition to the five Democrats with experience in elected city offices, other names sometimes discussed for 2013 include former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who resigned after a prostitution scandal in 2009, and actor Alec Baldwin. Whoever emerges as the Democratic nominee would seek to defy recent history, where the past two mayors, Giuliani and Bloomberg, were elected as Republicans, despite a 5-to-1 Democratic registration advantage among city voters.