Unconventional Tactics Tried To Restore Fossella to Ballot
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WASHINGTON — New York Republicans are maneuvering to try to get scandal-scarred congressman Vito Fossella back on the ballot, but his would-be GOP successor insists he’s not going anywhere.
Mr. Fossella, who represents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, announced he would not seek re-election after an embarrassing series of revelations following a drunken-driving arrest. He eventually admitted fathering a child from an extramarital affair.
Robert Straniere won the Republican primary, and the only ways to remove him from the ballot at this point are death, moving out of state, or a judicial nomination. Removing Mr. Straniere would open the door to putting Mr. Fossella back on the ballot.
So yesterday, the Manhattan Republicans gave Mr. Straniere a judicial nomination, which he insists he doesn’t want.
Asked if he would consider becoming a judge, Mr. Straniere said: “Absolutely not.”
“I don’t know why my name was put in nomination,” he added. “I have no interest in the judiciary. I’m the Republican candidate for Congress. I fully expect to be elected to Congress.”
Manhattan Republicans did not immediately return a call about the nomination today.
If Mr. Straniere is determined not to budge, it’s not clear how party leaders could pry him off the ballot. Republican judicial nominations aren’t worth much in Manhattan, where Democrats win almost every elected office. Without a Republican governor, there are fewer government titles to dangle in front of Mr. Straniere to get him to give up his spot.
And then there’s Mr. Fossella.
Re-entering the race would revive all the questions about his personal life that he has so far avoided answering. And there’s no guarantee that, even with Mr. Fossella on the ballot, the Republicans could hold onto the seat against a politically wounded incumbent who has kept a low profile for months.
Mr. Fossella also has a court date in October and could face a mandatory jail sentence if convicted on the drunken-driving charge.