Why doesn’t Anthony Weiner just quit?
It’s a question angry voters, pundits and fellow politicians have been asking almost nonstop in the nearly two weeks since the New York City mayoral candidate’s latest sexting bombshell, which has sent his poll numbers plummeting and turned his campaign into a chaotic sideshow.
Weiner insists he’s staying in the race no matter what. And experts say that beyond the former congressman’s well-known ego and combativeness, his stance may just be rooted in political calculation.
A leading theory: Weiner takes his hits on the campaign trail, gives the media a chance to ask every sexting question and essentially punch themselves out on the issue. And even if he loses, he emerges with the scandal mostly behind him and his political career refreshed to run for higher office again.
“All along, there has been a school of thought that Weiner was running in part to rehabilitate his image,” said WendySchiller, a Brown University political scientist. “That, even if he didn’t win, a strong showing would set him up for another run down the road.”
With fewer than 40 days until the Democratic primary, Weiner has been doing his best to push past the horde of reporters and photographers and make his case directly to voters.
In recent days, he has been leaving events with more applause than when he entered.