Is Vito Not Finito?
Is Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) mounting a comeback?
Regular readers of Capitol Briefing, the Sleuth and the New York tabloids will recall that the gentleman from Staten Island announced back in May that he would retire at the end of this year, after his arrest for drunk driving led to revelations that he had an extramarital affair and fathered a child with his paramour.
Since Fossella's announcement, Republicans in New York's 13th district have had a tough time finding and agreeing on a viable candidate to replace him, while Democrats quickly settled on City Councilman Michael McMahon.
But now the Staten Island Advance and the New York Post have reported that an unknown person or party has commissioned a poll to ask voters in the district whom they would back in a race between Fossella and McMahon. Does this mean the scandal-plagued incumbent is having second thoughts about his decision to retire? Here's what Fossella said in a statement today:
"I am deeply humbled by the outpouring of support that I have received from people throughout the district through these difficult times, but I am not a candidate for Congress."
Note the use of present tense -- "I am not a candidate..." -- in the statement, meaning Fossella didn't really deny that he might BECOME a candidate again. The Advance and other outlets suggest that Fossella may actually have his eye on another race, the 2009 contest for Staten Island Borough President.
Unless Fossella decided to run under the banner of another party, the only way he could run for re-election as a Republican is if the current candidate, Robert Straniere, decided to quit the contest. Straniere doesn't sound interested in doing so, but as we've learned watching Fossella and this district's politics this year, stranger things have happened.
September 15, 2008; 4:53 PM ET
Categories: 2008 Campaign
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