If there was anything to admire about Anthony Weiner’s bid to be the next Mayor of New York, it was his aides’ extraordinary success in taking their candidate to a lead in the polls, despite his embarrassing history of extramarital sexting.
Yet over the weekend it emerged that Mr Weiner’s campaign manager, Danny Kedem, had quit his role in the wake of damaging new revelations about the former congressman’s phone-sex life.
Mr Weiner said on Sunday that Mr Kedem, 31, had done “a remarkable job”, but claimed his campaign team was growing even as its leader departed. “More people have come on, frankly,” said Mr Weiner, who has a reputation for being a difficult boss.
Last week Mr Weiner, 48, revealed that his weakness for sending explicit photographs to female strangers had survived his resignation from Congress in 2011. In the two years since he was first disgraced, Mr Weiner and his wife, Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, had a baby son. But on Thursday he was forced to admit sending explicit messages to as many as 10 women – three of them since his resignation.
One of the women, 23-year-old Sydney Leathers, said she and Mr Weiner had engaged in phone sex several months after the 2011 scandal. Her explicit disclosures have had a withering effect on Weiner’s poll numbers. A poll on Thursday showed him trailing by nine points.
As Weiner visited Staten Island on Friday, hoping to focus on people affected by Superstorm Sandy, he was stopped in his tracks by retired schoolteacher Peg Brunda.
“Had I conducted myself in the manner in which you conducted yours, my job would have been gone,” said Brunda, who is a Democrat voter. “I don’t quite understand how you would feel you have the moral authority as the head administrator in the city to oversee employees when your standard of conduct is so much lower than the standard of conduct that’s expected of us.”
“People have personal lives,” Weiner said. “If it is unconnected to their professional duties… I’m not going to judge someone’s personal life.”