The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 10, 2013

Spitzer, Weiner make NYC political comeback city

(Continued)

Not that New York is the only political climate undergoing a season of rebounds: Republican former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, whose extramarital affair spurred his resignation in 2009, was elected to Congress this spring.

But the prospect of both Spitzer and Weiner — who were some of the state's best-known and most driven politicians before their respective downfalls — on the same ballot, at least in September's primary, could give the contest an undertone of being a referendum on how much and how soon voters can be asked to excuse.

Will it matter that Weiner's undoing was only two years ago, while Spitzer's was five? That the former congressman has stayed out of the public eye, while the ex-governor kept himself visible as a TV commentator? That Weiner lied about misdeeds that were cringe worthy but not criminal, while Spitzer's scandal involved allegations of illegal behavior, though he was never charged with any crime?

Voters' response so far has been fairly encouraging for Weiner: he's polling at or near the top of a crowded Democratic mayoral field. As for Spitzer, New Yorkers expressed mixed feelings as they digested the news of his re-emergence.

Cleonie Sinclair wedged her way through the media crush to shake Spitzer's hand on her lunch break from her medical records job.

"I forgave you, and we all made mistakes," Sinclair told him after hollering back at a heckler.

Sinclair, who's in her 50s, feels Spitzer was effective in his prior posts, "so I can't just take one mistake and turn it against him forever."

But Diane Abrams, who was passing through a park elsewhere in Manhattan, said Spitzer shouldn't be asking voters to put him back in a prominent office.

"It's just kind of crazy," said the publishing editor. "He let a lot of people down. I think he let a whole state down."

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