Weiner withdraws, concedes Democratic nomination to Ferrer

After strong campaigning in recent weeks, U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner announced that he had conceded the Democratic nomination for mayor to his main opponent, Fernando Ferrer on Sept. 15. He claims that his decision was not a result of any deals made with Ferrer’s campaign team, but rather an attempt to strengthen the Democratic nominee’s chances of beating Mayor Michael Bloomberg in November.

Although Ferrer received the greatest percentage of votes on Tuesday, New York State law stipulates that a candidate is required to win 40 percent of the vote, a number that he did not meet with only 39.949 percent. As a result, the city would required by law to hold a run-off election, in which Ferrer and Weiner, who received 29 percent of the vote, would once again have to face each other. Weiner, however, claims that he will not take part in a run-off election if one is held. Gifford Miller and C. Virginia Fields, both of whom ran for the Democratic nomination, said in the Sept. 15 edition of the New York Times that they respect Weiner’s decision and will support Ferrer in his campaign for mayor.

Despite both Weiner and Ferrer publicly announcing they do want to participate in a run-off election, the Board of Elections in New York City has announced plans to review and announce the official results of last week’s primaries. If it is determined that Ferrer did in fact fail to meet the required 40 percent of votes, a run-off election will be held.

Weiner, who was elected to the House of Representatives in 1999, had gained a great increase in popularity in the weeks leading up to the primary. Focusing on greater funding for Homeland Security, the representative has also maintained a strong relationship to Senator Charles E. Schumer, to whom he acted as an aide in the past.

While several members of the Democratic party claim that his choice to concede was an act of unifying his political party, as well as showing support for Ferrer, others are claiming that Weiner’s choice was a strategic move that he hopes will help win him the nomination in 2009.

While many New Yorkers and politicians are questioning Weiner’s decision to refuse to participate in a run-off election, Fernando Ferrer, who currently is the president of the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, has already begun his campaign as the Democratic opponent to Republican Bloomberg.

Ferrer, a Bronx native, has focused on low and middle-income families while fighting for the nomination, and seems most likely to keep that his key focus in the upcoming weeks.

In an attempt to maintain his role as the candidate representing the average New Yorker, Ferrer has criticized Bloomberg’s health care policies as well as his ability to improve public schools within the city. Bloomberg, meanwhile, has focused on recent improvements in the economy and recovery from the 9-11 attacks. He has also tried to win support from various ethnic groups.