Former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner begged supporters on Wednesday to stay with him, saying in a letter that "a rough time" in his marriage led him to resume sexting with a 22-year-old woman he had never met.
"Sending these embarrassing messages to women online, whom I never met, was a personal failing that was hurtful to my wife and a part of my life that Huma and I have put behind us," he wrote in the letter, according to The New York Post.
The letter, in which Weiner also apologized for his activities, was released late Wednesday afternoon.
"These things I did, as you have read in the papers, didn't happen once," the 48-year-old Democrat said. "It was a terrible mistake that I unfortunately returned to during a rough time in our marriage.
"After a lot of reflection, some professional help, and a general reorientation of my life, Huma has given me a second chance," he said, referring to his wife, Huma Abedin. "I will never stop being grateful for that."
At a hastily called news conference on Tuesday, Weiner admitted to exchanging racy photos and having sexually explicit chats with a woman he had met online. His handle was "Carlos Danger."
His wife, who once served as an aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was by his side — reiterating her love for Weiner.
"I love him. I have forgiven him," Abedin said at the news conference. "I believe in him. And, as we have said from the beginning, we are moving forward."
Weiner resigned his House seat in June 2011 after acknowledging that he had sexted with at least a half-dozen women.
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The woman involved in the latest incident was identified by Buzzfeed
as Sydney Elaine Leathers, a 23-year-old liberal activist from Indiana. Leathers told the salacious gossip blog The Dirty that she was 22 when she and Weiner began chatting online, and their sexting relationship lasted six months.
In the letter released Wednesday, Weiner did not deny the allegations, though he acknowledged that he should have disclosed sooner when the exchanges occurred, and vowed to continue his mayoral campaign.
"I regret not saying explicitly when these exchanges happened," he told supporters in the letter.
"Now, with 47 days left until the primary, some powerful voices are making it clear that they still don't want me to run," Weiner said. "Yesterday's news has given them fresh fodder."
The letter came on a day rich with new developments in the Weiner scandal.
The New York Times
published an interview with Nik Richie, The Dirty's editor, in which he suggested that his website would publish new and embarrassing information about Weiner's relationship with the woman in the coming days.
The woman who sexted with Weiner, Richie told the Times, told him that during their months-long relationship, Weiner had discussed his plans to run for mayor with her, though it is unclear when that might have been.
Weiner also had told her he loved her and discussed the possibility of securing a place for them to meet in Chicago, Richie said.
And Weiner repeatedly sought photographs of the woman.
"He would demand pictures almost every day," Richie said. "He always wanted pictures with heels in them. He loved her heels."
The Dirty initially quoted the woman as saying: "This was a bad situation for me because I really admired him. Even post-scandal, I thought he was misunderstood. Until I got to know him, I thought I loved him. Pretty pathetic."
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In addition, both the Times and the New York Daily News called for Weiner to quit the race, saying he had exhausted his opportunities for forgiveness with his latest indiscretions.
"The serially evasive Mr. Weiner should take his marital troubles and personal compulsions out of the public eye" and the mayoral race, the Times wrote.
The Daily News declared Weiner to be "lacking the dignity and discipline that New York deserves in a mayor," and said "his demons have no place in City Hall."
At least three of his mayoral opponents — Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former City Councilman Sal Albanese, both Democrats, and billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis, a Republican — said he should drop out.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, Weiner's strongest rivals in the polls, criticized him but did not directly call on him to quit.
Thompson said on WNYC-AM that Weiner should "think about the people of this city and make the right decision," while Quinn said at a news conference that it is up to Weiner and his family to decide whether he should end his run, but New Yorkers "need a mayor whose sole focus isn't self-aggrandizement."
Earlier on Wednesday, Weiner said that voters familiar with his record would not care that he continued to send sexually explicit pictures of himself to women.
"People who know me are still going to vote for me," Weiner said outside his Park Avenue apartment, just before jumping into a car and motoring away.
He said he believed voters could evaluate his stance on the issues and ignore his personal life.
"There have been people, since the moment I got into this race, who didn't want me to run," Weiner said. "A lot of people have been crying out for somebody to talk about issues important to the middle class."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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