Anthony Weiner's political comeback try came to an end Tuesday night, woefully short on votes but still generating a unique kind of spectacle.
"We had the best ideas. Sadly, I was the imperfect messenger," Weiner told about 350 supporters packed into the second floor of Connolly's Pub in midtown. Although Weiner repeatedly thanked his family for their support in the New York City mayoral primary, his wife, Huma Abedin, was not there.
Sexting partner Sydney Leathers, however, sipped a drink downstairs and chatted up reporters. "Why not be here? I'm the reason he's losing," she boasted. "He needs to stop trying to be elected."
With 95 percent of precincts counted, Weiner landed in fifth place with 4.9 percent of the vote.
The Brooklyn native praised his campaign's voluminous ideas, ranging from affordable housing for middle class to healthcare planning for the poor, saying he will "never stop fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it."
Weiner, who resigned from Congress in June 2011 after admitting to sexting with several women, announced a second run for the mayoralty via a YouTube video in May after months of hints that he was ready to return to politics and image-building interviews designed to show that his cyber-sexcapades were history. He first ran in 2005 and lost in the primary.
A deft politician with a respectable war chest, Weiner even topped the polls at one point. In late July, however, reports surfaced that Weiner, 49, had continued to text lewd photos of himself to women, including Leathers. Using the moniker "Carlos Danger," Weiner and the 23-year-old Indiana student apparently carried on their sexual shenanigans until late 2012.
On July 23, Abedin, 37, appeared by his side during a news conference to voice her support for her husband of three years. She has not made a public appearance with him since then. "Carlos Danger" became a national punchline and many urged him to quit the race.
Leathers, meanwhile, has refused to relinquish her 15 minutes of fame. Hours before showing up at Connolly's, she posed for photos in front of Weiner's midtown campaign headquarters holding a sign that read: "Don't Vote Weiner. Download Weinerizer."
Weiner has refused to discuss his post-election future, but last night Democratic consultants Hank Sheinkopf and George Arzt believe his political prospects are dim.
"It will be a long time before he'll be able to go before the voters," Sheinkopf said.
"Once you are in politics, you never get politics out of your blood, but I just don't see it," Arzt said. "His future lies in being a talking analyst on television."
Lance Owen, a Bronx supporter, disagreed. "I think he should try again. . . . New York will give politicians a second chance," Owen said at Connolly's last night. "I just wish when he first started the race he had put everything out there."