NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Anthony Weiner’s New York mayoral campaign took a beating yesterday as he lost his lead in a new poll and admitted to sending lewd online messages to up to three women since he resigned from Congress over such behaviour two years ago.
One of those women came forward yesterday to say they had frequent sexually charged conversations both online and over the phone last year, although they never met in person.
Weiner said at a news conference he had online exchanges with six to 10 women over the years, adding, “I can’t tell you absolutely what someone else is going to consider inappropriate or not.”
Meanwhile, with less than two months left before the Democratic primary, a new poll showed Weiner trailing 9 percentage points behind City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
In the first survey since Weiner admitted the chats had continued past his resignation, Quinn led with 25 percent among Democrats, while Weiner followed with 16 percent, according to the NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll.
Weiner, once a leading liberal voice in the U.S. Congress, resigned in 2011 after accidentally posting a revealing close-up photograph of him in his underpants on Twitter.
For a time, it appeared Weiner would be able to move past the scandal. Within weeks of launching his campaign in May, he had pulled ahead of Quinn, the race’s early front-runner who, if elected, would be the city’s first female and lesbian mayor.
That changed this week when a gossip website called The Dirty published a series of sexually explicit messages and images that an unidentified young woman said she received from Weiner, including pictures of his penis.
On Tuesday, Weiner admitted the messages were real and said he had continued interacting with women online as recently as last summer, more than a year after his resignation.
The 23-year-old woman who says she is behind the latest revelations, Sydney Leathers, appeared in interview excerpts the CBS television program “Inside Edition” broadcast yesterday.
“I felt manipulated,” she said. “Because obviously I felt like, you know, he’s saying one thing to me, saying another thing to his wife, saying another thing on the campaign trail. I don’t know who the real Anthony Weiner is, I guess.”