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GOP Picks Two Family Man Fossella for Congress

May 20, 2010

Republicans have long touted their candidates' family values. Now, that goes double for the New York GOP. As Huffington Post among others noted this morning, Staten Island Republicans have nominated the disgraced Vito Fossella to run for his old House seat in 2010. Apparently, having a secret second family is no barrier to a second chance for today's Republican Party.
According to the Staten Island Advance, party leaders of the executive committee voted 23-4 to nominate Fossella just days after he claimed he would not seek his old seat. Party chairman Jim Friscia said of the two-family man, "It is my firm belief that [Fossella] is the strongest candidate we can field." For his part, former Fossella mentor Guy Molinari lamented:

"I think the status of the Republican Party on Staten Island has reached a new low tonight."

That's saying a lot.
After all, Fossella's 2008 DWI arrest led to the stunning admission that he had a second family in Virginia. As the New York Daily News reported two years ago:

He's the baby daddy!

Disgraced Staten Island Rep. Vito Fossella admitted Thursday he fathered a 3-year-old love child in an illicit affair with the woman who rescued him from a Virginia drunk tank...

New details about the congressman's double life have emerged. Fay's neighbors said he was a regular visitor to her townhouse - often taking strolls with his second family.

Fossella's resurrection couldn't come at a worse time for the national Republican Party. It not only comes just two days after the GOP's hand-picked candidates were drubbed in Pennsylvania and Kentucky, but the same week that Indiana Rep. Mark Souder resigned over his affair with a staffer.
Then again, the sin of adultery has proven to be just a minor bump in the road to national prominence for leading Republicans like Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, David Vitter, Mark Sanford and John Ensign.
Nevertheless, Fossella's dual lives weren't the only reasons some observers doubted a second run for office. The New York Observer noted that Fossella's district will likely be redrawn in 2012. And posing nearer term problems, as TPM suggested, a possible embezzlement scandal involving Fossella's campaign committee could yet derail his return to Capitol Hill.
Regardless, Vito Fossella has the backing of the values voters of the GOP.
UPDATE: As TPM notes, "The full county committee still has to ratify the nomination and will meet next week."


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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