Guess Who's Back? Vito Fossella Gets Second Wind

By Tim Minton
|  Friday, May 21, 2010  |  Updated 6:30 AM EDT
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Guess Who's Back? Vito Fossella Gets Second Wind

AP

Former Rep. Vito Fossella

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It seems like just last year that Vito Fossella, Jr. was slinking out of office in disgrace. You know, there was the DWI thing (jail time can be inconvenient for a politician's attendance at votes). 

That led to the whole secret second family thing. Which exposed the having-a-baby-with-the-mistress issue. Conservative Republican Staten Islanders who sent Fossella to Washington were not amused. 

But as the former-maybe-future representative of the people prepares to perhaps campaign to wrest his old seat back from the (gasp) Democrat who won it in 2008, reporters' memories of scandal could prove more vivid than the voters'.

"Everybody makes mistakes," said one man at the Rosebank Shopping Plaza on Bay Street Thursday. "I mean he was pretty good before. He made a mistake and he paid for it," said another.

Fossella comeback commotion was sparked by Staten Island Republican bosses who voted overwhelmingly Wednesday night to endorse him. 

That was a surprise to the other Republicans in the race--Michael Allegretti--and Michael Grimm whose campaign manager is former congressman Guy Molinari

"We're going to campaign vigorously against him and beat his brains in--that's a political expression we use," explained the octogenarian Molinari, lest anyone think he's patrolling senior centers and other campaign stops with brass knuckles. 

"Republicans, not just on Staten Island, but nationally are eating their own. They've seized the conventional Democratic strategy of deploying circular firing squads," said Doug Muzzio, professor of public affairs at Baruch College.

In a statement late Thursday as speculation swirled, Fossella acknowledged being "surprised and deeply humbled" by the Republican endorsement. [reporter's note: Fossella can't have been too surprised by the news; his sister was reportedly at the meeting, providing tacit endorsement of the endorsement].

Fossella says he's giving the race consideration because "our country is heading in the wrong direction."

One voter at Rosebank Plaza thinks it's the two-familied drunk driving politician who's heading the wrong way.

"I'm trusting this person to look out for me and my family and he can't look out for his own house," she said.
 

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