Anthony D. Weiner, once a rising star of New York politics whose career cratered over revelations of his sexually explicit life online, announced an improbable bid on Wednesday for the job he has long coveted: mayor.
After a rocky re-emergence into public life over the past few weeks, marked by circuslike scenes of tabloid photographers chasing him onto the subway, Mr. Weiner opted to declare his candidacy from the safe remove of a video.
The two-minute video, which was posted online without any accompanying announcement from Mr. Weiner’s campaign, is a slickly produced argument for the candidacy of Mr. Weiner, a former congressman. In the video, he briefly, and obliquely, acknowledges wrongdoing, but focuses his time on asserting that he has the experience and determination to help New York deal with issues of unaffordability, education and public safety.
“Look, I made some big mistakes, and I know I let a lot of people down,” he says. “But I’ve also learned some tough lessons.”
His candidacy, fueled by a $5 million war chest and a determination to resurrect his public standing, promises to immediately disrupt a wide-open Democratic primary race populated by several lesser-known candidates.
But it comes with heavy baggage, starting with the deep ambivalence of voters to whom Mr. Weiner lied two years ago, when he indignantly, and falsely, denied that he had sent an Internet image of himself in his underwear to a college student in Seattle.
Mr. Weiner, 48, eventually admitted to a secret practice of befriending young female admirers over the Internet and engaging in intimate sexual banter with them, sometimes sending them lewd self-portraits taken with his BlackBerry.
The campaign video was apparently posted prematurely. Although Mr. Weiner was expected to declare his candidacy on Wednesday, the video went up in the middle of the night, and then for a time disappeared from the candidate’s YouTube page and his campaign Web site.
By sunrise, the campaign Web site had been updated, with the video displayed prominently and an orange-and-blue header reading “Weiner for Mayor.” However, on some mobile devices, users continued to see outdated content associated with Mr. Weiner’s Congressional campaign, and even the newer version of the site still included a link to a Facebook page that had not been updated in two years.
In the new campaign video, Mr. Weiner describes himself as a champion of the city’s middle class, and decries rising rents, inadequate schools, overregulated neighborhood businesses, and a paucity of “good jobs with benefits.”
“The very people that put everything they had into this city are getting priced right out of it,” he says. “But it doesn’t have to be that way.”
Although his tenure in Congress has often been derided as unproductive, in the video Mr. Weiner says he won money to hire police officers in the city, fought for assistance for first responders to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and helped win the battle to pass a health insurance overhaul.
“We can make a difference, if we’re willing to fight for it,” he says.
Later in the video, he adds, “I’m running for mayor because I’ve been fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it my entire life, and I hope I get a second chance to work for you.”
The video features multiple reminders of Mr. Weiner’s family — an important strategy if he is to reassure voters made uneasy by his online behavior. The first word in the video is “Jordan,” the name of Mr. Weiner’s infant son, spoken by the candidate as he and his wife, Huma Abedin, are shown feeding the child. Ms. Abedin, who has worked as a close aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton, is shown seated side-by-side with Mr. Weiner at the close of the video, and says, “We love this city, and no one will work harder to make it better than Anthony.” The video also shows Mr. Weiner’s childhood elementary school and describes his mother’s work as a schoolteacher and his father’s career as a lawyer.