For the third time, it's official: Anthony Weiner is running for Mayor of New York. It will be official for the fourth time, if the rumors are true, when he "officially" announces it next week.
Today it is official because he started hiring staff. For those keeping score at home, it was first official, in the eyes of the law, when he started spending money on a campaign; then, in the eyes of everyone else, when he did his New York Times Magazine confessional. And now, for the political press corps, it's official because, according to Politico, Weiner has hired Danny Kedem to act as his campaign manager. Kedem comes from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and, according to his LinkedIn profile, a few other recent campaigns. He worked on two losing bids for Congress — one in Staten Island and one in California — and the successful reelection bid for an incumbent mayor in New Haven.
That Staten Island experience could come in handy. Democratic mayoral candidates rarely do well in the most conservative borough in New York City. And if a poll released in April is any indicator, Weiner will need all of the help he can get. Yes, he polled in second place, but, as polling guru Nate Silver pointed out, that's with far higher name recognition than any of the other Democratic contenders. As the other candidates become more familiar to voters, they're more likely to make up ground, given Weiner's high unfavorability ratings: 41 percent of Dems view him critically. If he can convince moderate Staten Island Democrats that he's a better choice than his Democratic primary challengers, it's better than nothing — and according to last month's poll, Weiner does better in Queens and Staten Island than anywhere else.
The next step for Weiner is to add more staff. (It is impossible not to stumble onto unintentional puns in stories like these. Your forgiveness is requested.) The campaign manager's job, as you might expect, is to act as point person for all of the various components of the effort. His most important job is to get the candidate on the phone raising money or to events or knocking on doors. But he also does the hiring, interacts with pollsters, works with ad and mail firms to develop an overall strategy that the rest of the staff implements. The next step, then, is hiring that staff — a communications person, a field person — to develop the tactics that will bring the plan to fruition.
It's still pretty unlikely that New York's next mayor will be Anthony Weiner. If, as expected, he officially officially announces his candidacy next week, he'll have an uphill climb to convince New Yorkers that he's worth voting for. Kedem has a lot of work ahead of him.
If no one else, at least the campaign will have the tabloid press rooting for it.