For anyone still in need of a clue that the 2009 Mayoral race is already underway, the top of a three-page letter sent out this week by Representative Anthony Weiner to his donor list should settle things.
“Weiner for Mayor,” it says in white letters above two thick stripes of orange and blue, a lingering homage to his preferred baseball team.
“Many of the issues that made me want to run for Mayor are still left to be resolved,” Mr. Weiner wrote. “And I have a different view than most public leaders.”
When he ran for Mayor in 2005, the Congressman from Brooklyn was the surprise of the field, coming just a hair short of getting enough votes in the Democratic primary to force a runoff with the eventual nominee, Fernando Ferrer.
Hence, perhaps, the headline on the third page of the letter, which says: “Weiner is #1.”
And below that: “Anthony Weiner in driver’s seat for ’09.”
This page has all the fancy visuals: First, the angular, smiling face of Mr. Weiner, arms crossed casually over a propped-up knee, shirtsleeves rolled up to expose two thin forearms. Above his curly head are the results of public-opinion polls showing him winning hypothetical head-to-head races with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, City Comptroller Bill Thompson and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion.
The mailings went out just days before an April 2 panel discussion where Mr. Weiner is scheduled to appear with at least two of those hypothetical challengers, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Carrion. A fourth likely Mayoral candidate, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, was invited to the forum, hosted by the liberal Drum Major Institute, but will not attend because of scheduling issues, her office said.
Mr. Weiner’s assertive message represents a complete turnaround from how he presented himself in 2005, when he was the scrappy campaign upstart with lots of snappy ideas whose campaign budget was as thin as he was.
This time, he’s trying to make the case that his credibility as a Mayoral candidate is already established, and that he only needs some money to make the rest happen.
As former deputy mayor and veteran political strategist Bill Cunningham explained it: “Weiner is going to say, ‘Based on actually running, I can show you I’m a strong candidate. I got 24, 25 percent of the Democratic vote in the primary last time, and I was unknown and under-funded. Help me be better funded. I’m better known than I was last time, so I can only go up.”