Weiner, Spitzer political comebacks fall flat

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 11, 2013 at 8:17 am •  Published: September 11, 2013
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NEW YORK (AP) — Anthony Weiner's ill-fated mayoral campaign ended with a string of final embarrassments: He mustered a mere 5 percent at the ballot box. One of his sexting partners tried to crash his primary night rally. And Weiner was caught making an obscene gesture to reporters as he was driven away.

Outside a "victory" party where supporters mourned a disappointing fifth-place finish in the Democratic primary, cameras crowded around Sydney Leathers, the 23-year-old whose sexting with the former congressman brought his once-high-flying campaign to a screeching halt.

"Why not be here?" Leathers asked reporters. "I'm kind of the reason he's losing. So, might as well show up."

Another politician with a sex scandal, Eliot Spitzer, lost the Democratic primary contest for city comptroller to Scott Stringer, the Manhattan borough president. Stringer took 52 percent of the vote to Spitzer's 48 percent.

Spitzer resigned as governor in 2008 and admitted he paid for sex with call girls. In exile, he bounced around television as a pundit. Then, just four days before the deadline, he announced he was running for comptroller.

On the final campaign day for both men, the spotlight fell heavily on Weiner. His staff sneaked him into his own event, presumably to avoid Leathers, who had camped outside his headquarters all day hoping to confront him. His wife, Huma Abedin, who stood by his side at the height of the scandal, was nowhere to be seen.

And after a concession speech in which he got choked up as he spoke of family, a scowling Weiner was caught by a photographer giving a middle-finger goodbye to reporters as he was driven away.

Leathers, who has launched a porn career since the scandal broke, said Weiner needed "to stop being an embarrassment to the city of New York. He's going to continue this behavior. If it's not going to be me, it's going to be some other girl."

At one point, one of Weiner's supporters scolded Leathers, saying: "You must really be ashamed!"

For his part, Weiner acknowledged in his concession speech that he was an "imperfect messenger" but also boasted of the staying power of himself and his campaign.

Weiner had been in political exile since he resigned from Congress in 2011 for sending women lewd online messages and pictures. He got into the mayor's race in May, and aside from a few dust-ups with hecklers, was largely well-received at first, holding the lead for most of June and July.

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