Anthony Weiner still has a $4.3 million campaign war chest and a taste for redemption

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Though the whole world seemed to witness Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal two years ago, the former New York congressman still spent $100,000 on a recent voter poll gauging his chances in the Manhattan mayoral race. Has he done enough penance? Could Mr. Weiner actually compete against four other established candidates?

“The question is why Weiner is so eager to enter a race that seems so tough for him to win. There is the matter of the $4.3 million in the Anthony Weiner for Mayor war chest (plus about $1.5 million in public matching funds if he runs in 2013), which would make him one of the better-financed candidates in the race,” an unnamed political advisor told the New York Times magazine in a gaudy but thorough interview with Mr. Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin, published Wednesday.

But there may be reasons to run that have nothing to do with his chances.

“Isn’t this about winning?” asks the political adviser. “Or is this an attempt to get the scandal off the books? Then the next time he runs for something, he can say: ‘You know what? We talked about that last time. Aren’t we beyond that?’ If so, it’s not a crazy strategy. Because when you’re running in a race you know you’re going to lose, you get to say all the positive things you want about yourself and take the brunt of the jokes this round and then figure out your real move after that. But that takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to do.”

Another political operative had a similar reaction.

“I have no idea if he will run. But if he does, the reasoning might be: I don’t want that to be the last word of my public career; I don’t want that to be the thing that my son reads about me, as the end of my career. He’s looking for redemption,” the source told The New York Times.

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