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GOP’s Robocalls Blast Unannounced Contender

The Staten Island Republican Party has been paying for robocalls into voters’ homes, blasting Rep. Vito Fossella’s (R) likely Democratic challenger for not speaking out about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s appearances in New York last week.

Staten Island GOP Chairman John Friscia told the Staten Island Advance on Wednesday that he arranged for the calls to random telephones in the Staten Island and Brooklyn Congressional district, which targeted New York City Councilman Domenic Recchia (D), who is exploring a bid against Fossella.

“You haven’t heard anything from him,” Friscia told the newspaper. “He wants to be a civil leader and he says nothing.”

Democrats took the robocalls as a sign that Republicans fear Recchia.

“I’m not even a candidate for Congress, and Fossella and the Republicans on Staten Island are extremely nervous about this,” Recchia said. “Just goes to show you I’m the candidate who could win.”

A council colleague told the Advance that the GOP calls were plain wrong, because Recchia had joined a statement issued by the council speaker condemning Ahmadinejad.

Recchia, who is term-limited in 2009, has formed an exploratory committee but has not yet formally entered the race. Lawyer Steve Harrison, the Democratic nominee in 2006, already is running.

— Josh Kurtz

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