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Weiner takes back query on mayoral race funding

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Weiner wrote in a letter dated Feb. 18 to Nicole Gordon, executive director of the New York City Campaign Finance Board, saying that he no longer needed a response about how to handle a shift of funds from a federal account to a city account in anticipation of his possible mayoral run.

"In light of the uncertainties surrounding the transfer provisions ... and given the inability of anyone to interpret legislation that has yet to be enacted, I respectfully request that the letter dated Jan. 28, 2004, wherein I asked for an advisory opinion to be considered, be withdrawn," Weiner wrote.

The City Council is considering legislation that would rewrite how candidates fund their elections in citywide races. The Council has taken up the campaign finance issue in the wake of criticism that candidates such as Bloomberg, a billionaire, have an unfair advantage over candidates who are not as well-financed.

Weiner, who has as much as $1.8 million in his campaign war chest, has been weighing a mayoral run for 2005 and has hinted in interviews that he is likely to challenge Bloomberg.

The congressman has slammed Bloomberg in recent weeks on memorial plans for victims of American Airlines Flight 587 and terror funds for New York City - moves seen by many as a way to introduce his point of view and himself to voters citywide.

His decision to wait for legislation on election finance reform rather than requesting information on regulations at this point was not seen as having any bearing on his potential candidacy.

Weiner had not moved any money from his federal campaign fund and will await the final city council legislation regulating citywide elections before making any moves, according to his letter.

Weiner's 9th Congressional District includes the communities of Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Kew Gardens, Woodhaven, Ozone Park, Howard Beach and the western half of the Rockaway peninsula. He has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1998.

Other Queens politicians interested in opposing Bloomberg in 2005 include Republican Tom Ognibene, a former city councilman who has already announced his intention to challenge the mayor in a primary contest, and Brian McLaughlin, the Democratic assemblyman from Flushing and president of the New York City Central Labor Council .

Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by calling 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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