The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 10, 2013

Spitzer, Weiner make NYC political comeback city

NEW YORK (AP) — First, Anthony Weiner vaulted back from an embarrassing sexting scandal to become a top mayoral contender. Now, Eliot Spitzer has sprinted onto the comeback campaign trail in New York City, where this fall's races are turning into a mini-Olympics of political redemption.

So Weiner, just two years after a tweeted underwear photo spelled the end of his congressional career, jumps into the race for the nation's biggest mayoral job less than two months before the deadline to get on the ballot? Well, Spitzer embarked Monday on something just as audacious, if not more so: Only four days before the deadline, he launched a bid to become city comptroller, asking voters to look past the prostitution scandal that cost him the governor's mansion five years ago in one of politics' steepest falls from power.

While the two Democrats insist they're not looking at one another's examples, they're drawing from a common playbook: ask voters for forgiveness, tell them you've changed and focus on what you can do for the city.

"What I'm looking for is a chance to be heard. I want the voters to listen to what I've done, look at the record that I developed as attorney general, as an assistant district attorney, as governor, and say, 'This guy understood the public interest,'" Spitzer said at a Manhattan subway stop during his first public campaign appearance, where a heckler and some Spitzer supporters tried to out-shout each other while the candidate talked up his plans to make the city's top financial office into a muscular watchdog.

"New Yorkers, as good souls, have a sense of forgiveness," he added. "But whether or not they forgive me is a whole separate issue."

The limits of forgiveness are becoming a theme in this fall's New York City elections, which also feature former Democratic state assemblyman Vito Lopez, a onetime power player tarnished by a sexual harassment scandal, running for a City Council seat.

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