Michael Bloomberg forced Anthony Weiner out of the 2009 mayoral race—before he’d even decided to run—by convincing the Queens congressman the mayor’s re-election campaign had more dirt on him than it actually did, Harry Siegel of the Village Voice reports.
While the Bloomberg campaign did not have the same sexts and tweets that leaked onto the Internet in recent days — and which occurred in the past year — the mayor’s team poured resources into gathering dirt. Whatever Bloomberg actually found, Weiner was nervous enough about what the mayor potentially knew that he opted not to run.
A New York Post story from March 2009, which exposed the illegal campaign contributions Weiner had received from sexy foreign models, probably gave the congressman even more reason to worry.
Siegel reports that the Bloomberg campaign orchestrated an aggressive effort of intimidation, scare tactics, zip-code-specific digital ads, and, essentially, stalking, in order to convince Weiner not to challenge the mayor’s bid for a third term.
“We didn’t have as much at the time he dropped out as he thought we had,” the campaign official said, stressing that the campaign’s aggressive early shots at Weiner and other hardball tactics were meant to give the Congressman a sense of just how much damage the mayor, with his effectively unlimited resources, could do if he didn’t back out of the race he’d been widely expected to enter.
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