U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (searchsaid he has formed an exploratory committee to consider the possibility of running as mayor against Republican incumbent Michael Bloomberg (searchin 2005.

Weiner, a Democrat, registered the committee Monday with the New York City Board of Elections.

"For now, my intentions are to run for re-election to Congress, to help ensure that a Democrat gets elected to the White House in 2004, and then I'll take a hard look at the possibility of running for mayor," he told the New York Times for Tuesday editions.

Weiner said he had already raised $2.3 million in funds under federal campaign finance rules. With the registration of the exploratory committee, new contributions to his campaign will qualify for public matching funds.

It was "imperative" for Democrats to take control of City Hall, he told the Times, adding: "We have suffered too much at the hands of Albany and Washington from the Republicans."

So far, City Councilman Charles Barron is the only Democrat to officially enter the mayoral race.