Fossella Will Retire, Not Resign
UPDATE 8:45 AM: Fossella's full statement is now available online, as it has essentially replaced the home page on his official House Web site. In it, a letter to the people of the 13th district, he recalls his various career accomplishments in helping his constituents, including coping with the aftermath of 9/11. "I am extremely proud of these and other achievements and that our work has made a positive difference in the lives of so many people," Fossella says. "It is for this reason that I will continue to serve you and our community for the duration of my term, which will expire on January 3, 2009."
ORIGINAL POST: Scandal-plagued Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) is expected to announce Tuesday that he will not run for re-election in November in the wake of a drunk-driving arrest and revelations that he fathered a daughter with a woman who is not his wife.
The Staten Island Advance reports that Fossella will make public a statement Tuesday that says: "After a great deal of consideration, I have made the decision not to seek reelection to the United States House of Representatives this November. This choice was an extremely difficult one, balanced between my dedication to service to our great nation and the need to concentrate on healing the wounds that I have caused to my wife and family.
"Despite the personal mistakes I have made, I am touched by the outpouring of support and encouragement I have received from so many people. Their kind words and prayers during this difficult time mean more to me than I can express. And while many have urged me to run for reelection, I believe this course of action is best for my family and our community."
In addition to drunk driving charges and the personal embarassment of his family situation, Fossella faces the possibility of an investigation by the House ethics committee of official congressional trips he took with Laura Fay, a retired Air Force colonel and former military liaison on the Hill who has been revealed to be Fossella's long-running girlfriend.
House Republican leaders and election strategists have been anxiously awaiting a decision from Fossella about his future, with some members expecting or hoping that Fossella would resign from the chamber immediately. His apparent decision to serve out his term may bring more negative attention on him and distract the GOP's legislative efforts, but it also saves the party from the prospect of yet another difficult special election after Republicans have lost three in two months, and a race in New York City would be prohibitively expensive.
But Fossella's downfall still gives the GOP an electoral headache, as his Staten Island-based seat will be targeted by Democrats in the fall.
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