by Todd Beeton, Tue May 20, 2008 at 10:36:23 AM EDT
Well, it was looking as though NY-13 Republican Congressman Vito Fossella, who had been arrested for a DWI and subsequently was revealed to have been leading a double life, was going to defiantly run for re-election in the fall. According to Survey USA, he had the people behind him: 61% of NY-13 voters polled said he should remain in office through this term and 53% said he should run again in November. Despite this vote of confidence, however, it looks like leadership has concluded that Fossella would be more liability than asset in November and has successfully pushed him aside (no one really buys Boehner's claims on Meet The Press that no pressure was being exerted on him, do they?)
To the Constituents of the 13th Congressional District:
After a great deal of consideration, I have made the decision not to seek re-election 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...
After Fossella's troubles, Cook Political Report shifted NY-13 to toss-up status. The situation is slightly different now that the ethically-challenged Fossella won't be on the ballot in November, but I suspect that rating won't change since it's a D+1 district. In 2008 and in a district that encompasses parts of Brooklyn, you gotta favor an unnamed Democrat over an unnamed Republican for this seat.
As for who is likely to run for the seat, the Republicans actually have a fairly strong potential candidate in Staten Island D.A. Dan Donovan.
Minority Leader John Boehner and NRCC head Tom Cole have both contacted Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan about potentially running for the seat. Donovan currently serves about four fifths of the district and was re-elected with 68% of the vote in 2007, so he could be a very strong candidate.
Donovan is playing it cool for now, though. "Obviously everyone's waiting to see what the Congressman does, so we would pretty much take it form there," Donovan communications director William J. Smith told TPM Election Central. "The D.A. hasn't decided that he would be a candidate even if there was a vacancy, so obviously he would wait for the Congressman to make a decision."
We'll know more after Thursday, once the borough Republican party has interviewed prospective candidates.
On the Democratic side, the situation is a bit murkier. While New York City Councillor Domenic Recchia has the most money, NY-13 Blog anticipates his dropping out if he has to face a primary fight. Which may leave progressive Democrat Stephen Harrison, who has less money but seems to have more organization in place. The magic date here is June 3 when ballot petitioning begins.