NEW YORK CITY, NY – Former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner said on Tuesday he was not dropping out of the New York City mayoral race in light of newly revealed explicit online correspondence with a 22-year-old woman. And his wife, Huma Abedin, is standing by him.
“This is entirely behind me,” Weiner, a Democrat, said at a news conference. “We knew it might come up. It’s in our rear-view mirror. We still work on this every day.”
“I am sure a lot of my opponents would like for me to drop out of the race,â€ he said, referring to immediate calls by three of his rivals to quit the race.
He has been near the top of most mayoral polls since his late entry into the race this spring. Weiner admitted on Tuesday to exchanging racy photos and having sexually explicit chats with a woman whom he had met online. He had resigned his House seat in June 2011 after acknowledging having sexual conversations with at least a half-dozen women.
The newly revealed correspondence was posted Monday by the gossip website thedirty.com. The woman involved was not identified, but said their online relationship began in July 2012 and lasted for six months. She told thedirty that she was 22 when she began chatting with Weiner, who is 48 now, and they found each other on the social networking site Formspring.
Thedirty.com said the woman had been “lured” into an online relationship by Weiner using the alias “Carlos Danger” and that she believed he would provide her with an apartment in Chicago and a job, among other things. The woman told thedirty that she and Weiner had exchanged nude photographs of themselves and engaged in frequent phone sex.
The website also posted a pixelated photo of what appears to be a man’s genitals. “This was a bad situation for me because I really admired him,” the woman was quoted telling thedirty.com. “Even post-scandal, I thought he was misunderstood. Until I got to know him, I thought I lived him. Pretty pathetic.” The woman told the website that her relationship with Weiner “fizzled” in November 2012.
She said she last heard from him in April, when his intention to run for mayor was first revealed in The New York Times Magazine.
Under questioning by reporters on Tuesday, Weiner acknowledged that the most recent incident occurred “sometime last summer” â€” after an interview with People magazine that was published last July 18. In the interview, Weiner said, “I’m very happy in my present life,” and said that he was looking forward to seeing his son Jordan, who was 6 months old at the time, take his first steps.
Abedin, who was a top aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said on Tuesday that her husband “made some horrible mistakes.” It was her first time speaking at a news conference regarding Weiner’s activities. She was pregnant with Jordan when Weiner resigned. “I love him. I have forgiven him,” Abedin said. “I believe in him. And, as we have said from the beginning, we are moving forward.”
Meanwhile, two of Weiner’s mayoral rivals â€” Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former City Councilman Sal Albanese, both Democrats, and Republican John A. Catsimatidis â€” immediately called on Weiner to drop out of the running for mayor.
“Enough is enough,” de Blasio said. “The sideshows of this election have gotten in the way of the debate we should be having about the future of this city.” John C. Liu, another Democratic mayoral candidate, issued a more cautious statement, The New York Times reports.
“The issue of Anthony’s relationships, online or otherwise, is between he and his wife, however, the propensity for pornographic selfies is a valid issue for voters,” Liu said in his statement. “Ideas and eloquence can propel candidates, but judgment and character still do count.”
Two other leading Democratic candidates for mayor, William C. Thompson Jr. and Christine C. Quinn, declined to comment, the Times reports.