Anthony Weiner, the former congressman from Brooklyn and Queens who resigned in 2011 after lying to the media and public about an errant sexual message on Twitter, is surging through the Democratic primary in the race for mayor of New York City. The New York Observer reports Wednesday that Weiner is far ahead of his rivals in name recognition: “Their best efforts are no match for Mr. Weiner’s selfies [self-portraits].”
The Observer notes that even minority candidates are struggling to win support from their communities:
Not one out of 20 African-Americans we spoke to in Flatbush knew that there is a prominent African-American running for mayor, zero out of 20 people in a Park Slope Starbucks knew who Bill de Blasio is, and in Chinatown, not a single one of 20 Asian-Americans pledged support for John Liu. Ms. [Christine] Quinn fared better than her rivals in recognition, but her favor among gay, or at least gay-friendly, voters was not strong: only six out of 40 Brooklyn Pride celebrants (evenly divided between male and female) said they intended to vote for her, while 16 said they did not.
The problem, according to the Observer‘s Colin Campbell, is that many of the more likely candidates have failed to distinguish themselves. Christine Quinn retains a narrow poll lead, but is less widely known than Weiner, even though she is the Speaker of the City Council and the first openly gay person to hold that post, and even though she has spent years cobbling together the political support necessary for a mayoral run.
There is still a long way to go; the primary vote will not happen until Sep. 10. Yet in the Observer‘s study, 55% of respondents could not name a single candidate. Of those who could, Weiner was cited most often.
Weiner was once considered an unlikely contender, but is taking advantage of an exceptionally weak field of candidates, none of whom compares in stature to predecessors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg.