Analysis: Weiner and Spitzer Don't Deserve a Second Chance

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In less than two months, New York City's elections have gone from a relative snoozefest to a full-on circus.

Anthony Weiner, who resigned from Congress over a sexting scandal, launched a mayoral bid in May. Several recent polls have shown him at or near the top of the Democratic ballot. And on Sunday, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, best known for leaving office after being caught soliciting high-end prostitutes, announced he's running for New York City comptroller.

Weiner and Spitzer are both asking New Yorkers for a second chance when, frankly, they probably don't deserve one. Both men have said they're running for office for the sake of public service. But it's hard to shake the feeling that these are personal redemption campaigns more than anything else.

Spitzer even admitted that redemption has at least something to do with his campaign, saying on CBS "This Morning" that "I don't want to be glib and say, no, this has nothing to do with [it]."

"I think anybody who has been through what I have been through, sure you want redemption," Spitzer said. "I don't think this is the best way to get it because if that' s what I wanted I don't think this is the path to it, but what I am seeking is service."

But considering that their past actions displayed a stunning disrespect of voters' trust, are we to believe that they are really changed men?

While both disgraced the offices they once served in, Weiner and Spitzer committed their political sins in different ways.

Weiner resigned from his House seat in 2011 after he admitted to sending a series of lewd text messages and tweets to women he met online. Weiner didn't violate the law, but he did lie to his family and the public for nearly a week about his actions.

Spitzer, however, dug his hand even deeper into the cookie jar. He stepped down from office in 2008 after it was revealed he was a client of the Emperors Club VIP, a high-end prostitution service. Shortly after, law enforcement agencies investigated whether Spitzer's actions broke the law. Ultimately, federal prosecutors decided not to pursue charges against Spitzer, citing insufficient evidence.

Making matters worse, Spitzer crafted an image as a crusading upholder of the law in his previous post as New York attorney general. That included prosecuting at least two prostitution services.

The New York Times reported that Spitzer "spoke with revulsion and anger" after busting a high-end ring on Staten Island in 2004.

"This was a sophisticated and lucrative operation with a multi-tiered management structure," he said at the time. "It was, however, nothing more than a prostitution ring."

So yes, Spitzer's transgressions appear worse than Weiner's. But the bottom line is that both men deceived the voters that sent them into office in the first place. Their latest candidacies will surely draw headlines, and hell, they might even find themselves in office again come the fall.

Why? Because Americans do love a second act.

But that's too bad, because New Yorkers deserve elected officials more concerned with their constituents than with getting their mojo back.

ABC News' Shuhannah Walshe contributed reporting.

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