In case you need to be reminded from time to time, New York news is national news. But, New York City pols may be overdoing it this election cycle. With Michael Bloomberg exiting City Hall after three terms, a crowded race for mayor was a given. But, the return of Anthony Weiner from political exile following his sexting scandal created an enormous shock wave even by New York standards.
Haven’t had enough? This week disgraced former Governor Eliot Spitzer launched his own frantic campaign for city comptroller. But, if New York Democrats are experiencing candidate redemption overload, they’re hiding it well.
In the latest NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist Polls, both Weiner and Spitzer have demonstrated significant voter appeal. Democrats seem willing to grant these two a second chance to make a first impression. Presumably, it won’t resemble the impressions that chased each from elected office and extinguished what were expected to be long and successful political careers.
There are similarities and differences in how Weiner and Spitzer arrived at this place. But, for each, the foundation anchoring their return to politics may be that some voters discount these scandals as the basis for deciding their vote. Instead, they are of the opinion that most politicians have skeletons in their closet. Does that make Weiner and Spitzer sex scandal proof? Does this now mark the end of the political sex scandal in electoral politics?
Don’t be too hasty in jumping to these conclusions. Weiner at 25% may make the runoff in a crowded primary field, but he’ll have to double his current level of support to secure his party’s nomination. Spitzer at 42% needs to reach 50% in the primary against his sole opponent. In other words, they both have a significant amount of convincing to do.
Voters who are not really focusing on these contests will sharpen their gaze in the weeks ahead. And, for Weiner and Spitzer that will represent the true test of whether they can survive their scandals and avoid a political meltdown under the hot lights of Broadway.