After weeks of hemming and hawing, it looks like ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner is finally ready to put his skates on and jump back onto the proverbial ice.
An unnamed source told the New York Post that Mr. Weiner is “definitely” running for mayor, and expects him to announce his bid sometime in the next 10 days–likely before Memorial Day, which just so happens to be the second anniversary of the fateful tweet that sent his career into free-fall.
Politico reported last night that Mr. Weiner’s campaign manager will be Danny Kedem, a recent Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee adviser who worked briefly on Mark Murphy’s failed bid to unseat GOP Rep. Michael Grimm last year.
But the choice of Mr. Kedem, who did not respond to emails or messages for comment, could be a troubling sign for Mr. Weiner as he tries to resurrect his battered image, political insiders and former associates said.
For one, Mr. Kedem is a relative unknown in the city, with minimal experience on high-crisis situations. He worked on just one previous race in the city, and then as a deputy more focused on fundraising, said one source who knows Mr. Kedem.
“I doubt Kedem was Weiner’s first choice,” said the source. “Weiner has slim pickings …. [Mr. Kedem’s] never run a New York City campaign and doesn’t know New York City press. [It’s a] huge learning curve for him. That is bad for Weiner.”
The source further said he was “shocked” that Mr. Kedem had signed on for the job
“He does have a lot of energy and a sense of humor and likes adventure. Still, this is a huge undertaking and it could blow up in his face,” he said. “This will be the most high-profile race Kedem has ever done. And he knows all the challenges that come with Weiner as a mayoral candidate.”
Another source who knows Mr. Kedem and other operatives in the race, described Mr. Kedem as an “OK technician,” but said he was not in the same as league as many of the top staffers working for Mr. Weiner’s soon-to-be opponents.
“It is clearly an inside the beltway hire, Weiner relying on D.C. operatives with limited knowledge of NYC,” said the source.
But one former associate said Mr. Kedem’s personality would likely be an asset going into the race, labeling him a “hardworking, savvy individual who called things like he saw them”
“[He] didn’t bullshit when it came to making decisions or surveying the political landscape–which will probably be useful since he is managing the campaign of a politician who is the poster child for why snapchat exists,” he added, referring to the popular app that deletes photos moments after they’re sent.
The source also credited Ms. Kedem for overhauling Mr. Murphy’s fund-raising operation. “If he had been there earlier, maybe Mark wouldn’t have struggled on that front in the beginning,” said the source.
In addition to the four months Mr. Kedem spent working for Mr. Murphy, his previous experience includes a number of mayoral and congressional races, including Claire McCaskill’s 2006 Senate Run, and a stint as a field organizer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, according to his Linkedin page.
According to the Daily News, at least two people close to Mr. Weiner have been contacting political operatives to see if they will work for him. But his success has been mixed. Politico reported that Mr. Weiner has also decided on a press secretary and other positions–but said that a number of potential press hires had passed on the job.
Mr. Weiner did not respond to a request for comment, but more clues are likely to be revealed later this morning when the details of his latest campaign filing are posted by the city’s Campaign Finance Board. If his campaign’s spending has escalated sharply, it would likely signal he is serious about the race.
He would have just four months to build his operation and make his case to voters ahead of the primary, but a recent poll found he would enter the race in second place, beating everyone but front-runner Christine Quinn.