By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The race for mayor is filled with career politicians putting their needs ahead of voters, so what’s one more? That was the sentiment expressed by Sal Albanese, the former Bay Ridge councilman running an insurgent campaign for City Hall when he was asked about Anthony Weiner’s entry into the race.
“I look at it this way: I’m running against four career politicians and he is number five,” Albanese told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on Wednesday, the day Weiner officially threw his hat into the ring and set the New York political world buzzing.
Weiner’s attempt at a political comeback after he resigned in disgrace two years ago amid a sexting scandal promises to shake up the race. It remains unclear how Weiner’s candidacy will affect the other hopefuls running for the Democratic Party’s nomination: Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill deBlasio, City Comptroller John Liu, former comptroller William Thompson, and Albanese.
But Albanese contended that Weiner’s presence in the race will hurt the other Democratic candidates more than him. “I think it will hurt my opponents more. I think it hurts Quinn, deBlasio, and Thompson more than me. We’re running an insurgent campaign,” he said.
Albanese said Weiner called him early Wednesday to inform him that he was entering the race. The two men served together on the City Council in the 1990s. “He said he just wanted to tell me he was running,” he said. Albanese and Weiner joked that they will probably run into each other on the campaign trail. “We’ll probably be spending time in green rooms together,” said Albanese, referring to the areas in television studios where guests stay prior to appearing on shows.
The immediate effect of Weiner’s announcement showed that the former congressman is still capable of dominating the political discourse, according to Albanese. “I was at a forum this morning that Crain’s had and all anybody wanted to talk about was Anthony Weiner. And that was the reporters. That's all they asked about,” he said.
Weiner's entry into the race will not change his campaign strategy, Albanese said. “I intend to focus on the issues that matter to New Yorkers – good schools, creating jobs, and keeping the city safe,” said Albanese, who was a teacher at John Jay High School in Park Slope before entering politics.
One of Albanese’s supporters, Kevin Peter Carroll, Democratic district leader of the 64th Assembly District (Bay Ridge-Staten Island), said the effect of Weiner’s candidacy remains to be seen. “The race is so fluid,” Carroll, who endorsed Albanese early on in the race, said.
“I think we’re definitely headed for a runoff,” Carroll said. If none of the Democratic candidates gets at least 40 percent of the vote in the primary, the top two vote getters will face each other in a runoff to determine who will be the Democratic Party’s candidate for mayor. “It’s just a question of which candidates will be in the runoff,” he said.
“Weiner, according to the polls, is in second place behind Christine Quinn. And at the time the scandal happened, he was the frontrunner for mayor. Most people know who Anthony Weiner is,” Carroll said.