But Abedin's visible support may help him win voters' approval, too.
"I don't think it's a good sign" that Weiner's behavior continued even after his resignation, said Andrew Taub, 22, who works in the venture capital arena. "But I do believe for some people looking for a sign, for something to bolster his campaign, (the fact that Abedin is staying with him) says a lot."
Still, the disclosure suddenly puts Weiner's indiscretions, judgment and candor back in the forefront of his campaign, and political analysts say it could be damaging: "It makes it tougher to believe this is behind him," said Democratic former state Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, now a political consultant.
And some voters who were open-minded about a second chance may not be able to stomach a third.
"He had a chance to redeem himself, and if he did it twice, he really betrayed the public's trust again," Jeremy Green said. "I think he's past the point of no return."
Weiner and Abedin, however, sought to cast the newly revealed messages as nothing really new. "I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today they have," Weiner said. In a sign of how much he was projecting taking the messages in stride, he added that he was surprised that more hadn't come out sooner.
Abedin said her husband had made some "horrible mistakes both before he resigned from Congress and after" but insisted she and her husband discussed "all of this" before he jumped into the mayor's race in May. Seeming a bit choked with emotion, she noted that she had chosen to stay in the marriage, but "it was not an easy choice."
Abedin, a longtime adviser to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, has played a large and visible role in Weiner's mayoral campaign.