NY-13: Vito Fossella Will Not Seek Re-Election

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?)

Vito writes letters:

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.

From TPM:

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.

There's more...

NY-13: Another Dem Pick-up Opportunity

It can't be fun to be Tom Cole who, as chair of the NRCC, has the unenviable task of electing Republicans to the House of Representatives. Hell, already in 2008 he's lost 2 seats and it's not even November yet. On his watch so far this cycle, the committee has been plagued by recruiting failures, anemic fundraising and yes, every now and then, a good old fashioned bout of bad luck.

Enter NY-13's Vito Fossella, a moderate Republican representing NY-13, a D+1 district that encompasses Brooklyn and Staten Island, who until 2 weeks ago had been listed as likely to retain his seat by the Cook Political Report. And then, as Jonathan reported on Thursday, Vito got arrested.

The Politico picks up the story.

Fossella was arrested last Thursday in Virginia, with a blood alcohol level of 0.17 -- over twice the legal limit in the state. If found guilty, he would have to serve five days in jail, an outcome analysts said could present major political problems.

"The prospect of jail time would make it very hard for him to run again," said Cook Political Report House analyst David Wasserman. "The difference between serving jail time and pleading down to a lesser charge makes a huge difference in Fossella's political future."

Ah, but if only his problems stopped there. WaPo's The Sleuth:

According to May 1 police report, a copy of which was obtained by the Sleuth, Fossella told police he was on his way to pick up his sick daughter at her home in Alexandria and take her to the hospital. But the next day at a news conference, Fossella said he was driving to the suburbs in the wee hours of the morning to see friends.

Fossella was specific with the arresting officer about where he was headed. He gave a street name where he said he was picking up his daughter. That street, it turns out, is the same street where retired Lt. Col. Laura Fay lives with her three-year-old daughter. Fay, according to the New York Daily News, picked up Fossella from the police station.

The nut of Fossella's real problem here:

Fossella, who has three children with his wife, Mary Pat, changed his story a few times about why he left a Dupont Circle area bar, the Logan Tavern, and drove across the river to the Virginia suburbs.

Which is why all the buzz is that Fossella is likely to announce fairly soon that he won't run for re-election this fall.

GOP political insiders say Fossella, whose blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit when he was busted at 12:15 a.m. last Thursday, stands little chance of running for reelection at this point, and their Democratic counterparts agree. Buzz on the Hill and around town Wednesday was that Fossella would be announcing sooner rather than later that he won't seek another term in what has quickly become a hotly contested seat for embattled Republicans. Fossella was not voting in the House Wednesday.

Which puts NY-13 challenger Democrat Steve Harrison, who is among those Dem challengers who have endorsed the Responsible Plan by the way, in the spotlight. We'll have to see who the Republicans nominate in Fossella's stead of course, before we have a real sense of whether Harrison is likely to translate Fossella's troubles into a Democratic victory in November, but if nothing else, this is yet another reason why we challenge everywhere.

For more on the race check out a blog named, unsubtly, NY13 blog; Retaking NY-13 From Vito Fossella. Also, hat tip to The Albany Project for Harrison's Act Blue page link. Go throw a few bones Harrison's way if you can. Virtually overnight this race has entered, at worst, toss-up territory.

There's more...

Harrison for Congress

Here's the latest from the Big Apple fight against the lonely repug,lapdog, hold out Vito Fossella. IF you have some time and would like to help...send money (Act BLUE), spread the news, or if your local Volunteer to help.

Harrison06.com

Steve Harrison for Congress

http://www.silive.com/news/advance/index .ssf?/base/news/1162562440304030.xml&amp ;coll=1

http://www.silive.com/news/advance/index .ssf?/base/news/11625633224830.xml&c oll=1

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics /story/467966p-393780c.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics /story/467812p-393677c.html

There's more...

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