Spitzer, Weiner and why New York is talking about sex

Story highlights

Scandal tainted politicians look for redemption at the ballot box

One-time governor Eliot Spitzer running to control New York's purse strings

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner wants to be city mayor

Spitzer was ousted for using prostitutes; Weiner for sending sexual photos

New York CNN  — 

New Yorkers are sweating-out a steamy summer thinking about sex. A pair of rogue politicians running for re-election and redemption leave them no choice.

“People have forgiveness in their hearts,” said Eliot Spitzer, a former crime-fighting prosecutor and then governor who resigned in 2008 after revelations that he frequented prostitutes.

Spitzer, who briefly joined us at CNN as a TV host during his exile from elected politics, began his comeback campaign this week with a surprise decision to run for comptroller of New York City. The job would essentially make him the Big Apple’s accountant – a huge demotion from his days running the entire state.

He’s sharing the city’s summer-of-scandal spotlight with Anthony Weiner, a former Washington lawmaker who resigned from the House of Representatives in 2011 after acknowledging he sent sexually explicit photographs to several women.

Weiner is running for mayor and would have to work closely with Spitzer if both men win.

Could they? Both are Democrats – a party that typically does well in New York – and would first have to face a September vote for their party’s nomination, even before the municipal election in November.

Zombie politicians find new life after disgrace

Weiner represented a New York district in Congress and ran a credible campaign for mayor of the city back in 2005. Media accounts suggest he spent months planning this year’s campaign. Polls make him the frontrunner among Democrats.

By contrast, Spitzer started late and had a rough first week simply trying to collect enough signatures to get a place on the ballot.

He also faced a particularly awkward opponent for the comptroller’s office: an ex-madam who says she actually supplied Spitzer with women. Kristin Davis has no proof of that allegation but she did spend several months behind bars because of her business.

Spitzer has to hope that it’s something voters can overlook come September.

Is the road to redemption getting shorter?

“Ten minutes in politics is 50 years in anything else,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic strategist who has worked with Spitzer in the past. “And anything can happen, all times, any time, forever.”

The prospect of the disgraced duo running ‘the city that never sleeps’ hasn’t escaped the attention of America’s comedians.

In the words of late night TV host Conan O’Brien, “New York is changing its name to the city that never sleeps with its wife.”

Opinion: New York’s sex scandal candidates