Vito Fossella Mulling a Comeback, Staten Island Republicans Say All Is Forgiven, Apparently

Republicans may be feeling confident about their chances in the 2010 midterm elections, but you have to wonder about this kind of exuberance ...

Not only has scandalized former Representative Vito Fossella been mulling a comeback, but the Staten Island Republican Committee is endorsing him, the Advance reports.

Fossella retired from the House after six terms in January of 2009, after a DUI arrest in 2008 led to the discovery that he had a three-year-old love child. Fossella didn't resign, but he didn't run for re-election, paving the way for Michael McMahon to have the rare chance to take the island on the Democratic line.

"There seems to be a three-ring circus on the Republican side of this race," McMahon told the Advance, adding, "Whoever emerges in the center ring, I'll be proud and honored to run against." Whomever he fights, McMahon can probably expect to fight by himself. He voted against health care reform when it squeaked through the House, so he shouldn't be expecting much help from the White House (not that Obama's endorsements seem to be of much value these days.) More practically, in New York he's been dumped by labor unions and the Working Families Party for his vote, and their organizational support is critical to winning Republican-leaning Staten Island.

The Advance reports Staten Island Republican Party chairman John Friscia said Fossella "is the strongest candidate we can field," while also admitting he isn't even positive Fossella will actually run. He didn't show up to be interviewed by the committee for their endorsement. We can only imagine how the two candidates felt who did (Michael Allegretti and Michael Grimm) when they learned after their interviews that the committee voted 23 to 4 to endorse Fossella. Maybe they wanted to throw back a few, get behind the wheels of their cars, and head for a corner in Port Richmond to increase their odds for the next time. (Allegretti was endorsed by the Kings County Republican Party Executive Committee, as a sliver of the district contains part of Bay Ridge.)

Former Borough President Guy Molinari, who was once Fossella's mentor, said, "I think the status of the Republican Party on Staten Island has reached a new low." The Advance reports that Molinari, who is backing Grimm, thinks that if Fossella runs, the House Ethics Committee investigations that were dropped when he declined to run in 2008 will be reopened.

It's unclear how the Republicans plan to beat McMahon, no matter which candidate they run. McMahon can't be tied to either Obama's or Pelosi's agendas. In addition to voting with the GOP on health care, he's voted with them on not capping executive pay, trying to repeal the estate tax, barring federal funds for needle exchange programs, keeping bankruptcy judges from modifying mortgages, and most military matters. How can they compete against someone who has already taken most of their stands? Maybe they're just hoping the "D" by his name will be enough by itself.


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