Guyanese, Trinidadian, and Jamaican cricket enthusiasts received a surprise today: Anthony Weiner.
The former Congressman, who is limping along in the polls, took his mayoral campaign to members of Queens’s West Indian community, where he said he hopes to scrounge up votes just a couple of days before Tuesday’s Democratic primary.
His pitch, he explained, was the same to the Guyanese community as to all voters.
“I want to be where there are citizens who we want to persuade to come out and vote. The Guyanese community is in this community and frankly all around the city,” he said, turning to his signature catch phrase: “They are exactly the kind of people I envision when I talk about the struggles of the middle class and those struggling to make it.”
Despite the widespread assumption that his campaign has little chance of emerging victorious, Mr. Weiner also confidently discussed returning to the community after he’s elected.
“I’ll enjoy being the mayor of communities like this,” he mused. “I’m going to enjoy their company, I’m going to hear what they have to say, and that’s the way I’m going to be as mayor and that’s what I’m doing today.”
This afternoon’s visit comes a week after Mr. Weiner raised eyebrows with a spirited performance at the West Indian Day parade, where the candidate, riding a float with a live DJ, shouted to parade-goers with a mock Jamaican accent that some–including his old roommate Jon Stewart–saw as potentially offensive. (“Seriously, you people sound ridiculous, vote for me!” The Daily Show host quipped.)
But Mr. Weiner told Politicker that his accent was all in the spirit of the parade. “There are a lot of politicians who walk into parade like they’re getting a root canal. I march in parades because I enjoy them and I enjoy getting into the spirit of them and that’s what I was doing at the West Indian Parade,” he said. “I speak Spanish at the Dominican Day Parade, I speak Yiddish and Hebrew at the Israeli Day parade. I think you’ve gotta ask the people at the parade what they thought. I didn’t hear any complaints.”
Today’s cricket event, meanwhile, went smoothly enough, especially compared to an infamous stop in Brooklyn earlier in the week, where he and a man got into a heated fight in a Jewish bakery. Mr. Weiner entered South Jamaica’s Baisley Pond Park as locals hung around the sidelines and players outfitted with lime green and orange suits ran around the field. During half-time, Mr. Weiner took the microphone and introduced himself to potential West Indian voters—speaking about the careful responsibility of players to carry the ball and the respect he had for the hard work of the game.
At one point, a little girl grabbed Mr. Weiner’s attention as he chowed down on some jerk chicken, rice, beans and a few sprigs of lettuce in a Styrofoam container.
“What if I could pass a law that said every day you could have ice cream for dessert?” Mr. Weiner asked five-year-old Jayanna Magnus as she sipped on a cup of juice.
“I can’t pass that law,” Mr. Weiner admitted, explaining the legislative role of the mayor to the girl.
Overall, Mr. Weiner was warmly received. Some of the match-goers said they weren’t especially bothered by the sex scandal that drove him from office and continues to dog his return to politics. “It helps to know he’s human with the same feelings and the same temptations,” said Ricky Butler, who runs a Jamaican restaurant.
But not everyone felt the same. Desmond Mohammed, a Trinidadian native from Rockaway Park said he would have voted for Mr. Weiner if he had spoken more honestly about his sexting scandals.
“Take front, before front take you,” said Mr. Mohammed, using a Trinidadian proverb for coming clean before others find out and gossip about your problems.