One of Anthony Weiner’s rivals in the New York City mayoral race is trying to make an issue of the former congressman’s dating history, suggesting that Weiner would lose political support if his ex-girlfriends were to speak out publicly.
Republican Joe Lhota, a former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and close adviser to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, speculated about Weiner’s romantic past during a Monday radio interview with “The Andrea Tantaros Show.”
“I hope (women) will come to the right conclusion after enough women come out and talk about what it was like to be with him and date him and things like that,” Lhota said on the show, according to the New York Post. “New York women have to decide for themselves if this is someone who has the character to be mayor.”
Lhota’s attack comes barely a week after he began fundraising off Weiner’s past, arguing in an email to supporters that the ex-lawmaker lacks the ethics to be the city’s chief executive.
“Like me, I’m sure that you had hoped to have seen the last of Anthony Weiner when he resigned from Congress following an illicit sexual Twitter scandal and botched cover up, but he’s back and desperate for political redemption,” Lhota wrote. “But it’s the same old story with Anthony Weiner. First, he lies to the public, the press and his family. And then he makes up his own facts. This is a pattern that is simply unacceptable.”
A spokeswoman for Weiner did not respond to a request for comment, but Weiner had previously dismissed Lhota’s attacks by insisting he’s focused on more pressing issues.
So far only two of Weiner's rivals—Lhota and Democrat Sal Albanese, a former City Council member who registers at just 1 percent—have brought up the sexting scandal that forced Weiner out of Congress in 2011. The former lawmaker, who was caught sending salacious messages to women who were not his wife, has repeatedly apologized. He launched his mayoral bid in May by offering regrets for his behavior and asking the public for a “second chance.”
Weiner is married to Huma Abedin, a top aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The couple wed in July 2010, a year before the sexting scandal broke. Abedin is an active supporter of her husband's mayoral run.
But an open question remains over when or if Weiner’s other rivals will bring up the sexting controversy—especially as he continues to move up in the polls ahead of the Sept. 10 Democratic primary. A spokesman for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who had been the front-runner before Weiner entered the race, declined to say whether she thinks it’s a relevant issue, while the other campaigns have not returned repeated calls seeking comment.