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Weiner Touts Legislator as Fossella Challenger

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D), speaking last week to a Democratic political club on Staten Island, said he believes state Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D) ought to challenge Rep. Vito Fossella (R) in 2008.

“It would be great to have Mike fighting for us in Congress instead of Vito Fossella,” Weiner told the gathering, according to the Staten Island Advance.

Finding a strong candidate to run against Fossella has been a priority for Democrats since the Congressman won a special election in 1997. But they have been unable to recruit any highly regarded challengers.

Cusick was one of a quartet of elected officials who took a look at challenging Fossella in 2006 but decided against it. The lawmaker — who, like Weiner, is a former aide to Sen. Charles Schumer (D) — would have to sacrifice his seat in the Legislature to run for Congress. He told the newspaper that he is not ready to focus on 2008 yet.

“It’s nice to know my good friend thinks so highly of me,” Cusick said. “It’s nice to hear people, especially in those positions, think you’re qualified for that job.”

Other potential Democratic challengers to Fossella include New York City Councilman Michael McMahon and City Councilman Bill de Blasio, who does not live in the Congressional district. Both are term-limited in 2009.
— Josh Kurtz

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