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Fossella Won’t Seek Re-election

In a development that is sure to please beleaguered House Republicans, scandal-singed Rep. Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.) will announce this morning that he does not plan to seek re-election. “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,” Fossella says in a letter that is posted on his Web site. Fossella’s decision to retire increases the likelihood that Republicans will hold his Staten Island-Brooklyn seat in November. Although Democrats had been targeting the 13th district even before Fossella was arrested for drunken driving on May 1 and was subsequently forced to admit that he had fathered a child out of wedlock, the district is conservative and the seat has been held by Republicans since 1981. While it may take Republicans a while to sort out who their nominee will be, the Staten Island GOP is very powerful and well-organized, and is set to begin its endorsement process Wednesday evening. The list of possible replacement candidates for Fossella include Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan Jr. (R) and state Sen. Andrew Lanza (R). Lanza, a close friend of Fossella’s, would have to give up his seat to run for Congress. On the Democratic side, New York City Councilman Domenic Recchia and lawyer Stephen Harrison are competing for the nomination. But both hail from Brooklyn, where only 20 percent of the district’s voters live, and with Fossella out of the picture, Staten Island Democrats may attempt to nominate one of their own. – Josh Kurtz

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