Anthony Weiner considering run for NYC mayor: Report
Updated 8:21 p.m.: Anthony Weiner may be ready to return from exile, but whether New York voters will return to him two years after his lewd photo scandal remains to be seen.
In a lengthy interview with The New York Times Magazine published online Wednesday, Weiner, 48, said he has been considering a return to political life, possibly a run for mayor this year -- a venture he said his wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime Hillary Clinton adviser, is open to as well.
"It's not the single animating force in my life as it was for quite some time," Weiner, who ran a race for mayor in 2005, told the Times. "But I do recognize, to some degree, it's now or maybe never for me, in terms of running for something."
Weiner resigned from his Brooklyn and Queens congressional seat after admitting -- following days of claiming he was a hacker victim -- he took and posted an underwear-clad picture on his Twitter feed.
He also copped to sending pictures and text messages to young women around the country throughout the course of his marriage to Abedin.
Political strategists and crisis management consultants say that Weiner still must redeem himself before the electorate if he is to wage a political comeback for mayor or possibly city comptroller.
"It's really important to be, first and foremost, clear to voters that his wife forgives him and that has to be clear pretty much every day of the campaign," said Keli Goff, a political analyst.
Abedin explained in the Times piece how she came to forgive him for sending the photos to women.
"It took a long time to be able to sit on a couch next to Anthony and say, 'O.K., I understand and I forgive,'" Abedin told the Times.
Goff said the public is more willing to accept a marital transgression if the politician's family has done so, too.
"Bill and Hillary Clinton are probably the best example of that," Goff said.
As for Weiner's lying, crisis management consultant Mark Marcias said he would have to run a "credibility campaign from the start."
If Weiner jumped into the crowded Democratic primary, he would have to reclaim the image of a firebrand outer-borough liberal that made him an immediate front-runner for mayor in 2009 and 2013 -- before his political career screeched to a halt.
"His opponents will try to characterize him as having deserted those roots and values," said Andrew Moesel, political consultant for Sheinkopf Ltd., which has not signed on with a mayoral campaign. "So he'll have to make the case that he's a Brooklyn boy made good."
Currently, Weiner has $4.3 million in his campaign account and is eligible to receive public funds under the city's campaign finance program.
He would also start a campaign with an electorate where 46% of voters -- Democrats, Republicans and the unaffiliated -- have an unfavorable impression of him, according to a February poll from Marist College. An October poll from the firm said 57% of Democrats did not want him to run for mayor in 2013.
Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Poll, said Weiner has time on his side to make his case to voters.
"This is not a question of showing up at the top of the 9th inning to run for mayor," Miringoff said. "It's the 2nd or 3rd inning."
One former Weiner campaign volunteer, Scarlett Ahmed, felt that the scandal is too fresh and would be difficult for his family.
"It's fine for him to be a stay-at-home dad for a while," said Ahmed, a former constituent in Queens who made phone calls and held signs at rallies. "Maybe he can do some kind of foundation work."