Vito Fossella may have been able to survive his recent DWI arrest, but can he survive the upcoming sex scandal?
On the night of Fossella’s arrest, the congressman called on a “very good friend“, a former intelligence officer at the Pentagon, to pick him up from jail:
Fossella, according to a police report, said he was rushing to see his “sick daughter” and take her to the hospital. But, the Republican lawmaker, allegedly blew a 0.17 into the officer’s Breathalyzer – twice the legal limit – and was hauled off to jail.
A few hours later, Fossella called Fay to sign him out of jail.
When asked whether Fay’s 3-year-old was the same girl Fossella had to take to the hospital, his spokeswoman declined to comment.
“That is a demeaning and highly inappropriate question that does not deserve an answer,” said Susan Del Percio, a high-priced public-relations crisis consultant.
Roll Call has more:
But despite the display of normalcy in the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, rumors were swirling behind the scenes that the 43-year-old Congressman might not be able to survive the spate of embarrassing headlines that have blared from New York newspapers since his arrest. […]
Privately, however, political leaders and operatives on both sides of the aisle were beginning to express doubt that Fossella can serve out the remainder of his term – let alone remain politically viable in November.
“I think the realization is beginning to sink in that he can’t last,” said one Washington, D.C., Republican. […]
[A] New York-based GOP consultant who did not want to be named said some Republican insiders have been advised not to defend Fossella too aggressively, for fear that it could hurt the party’s efforts to hold his seat if he chooses to resign or retire.
Already names are floating of possible Republican contenders for Fossella’s seat, such as state Sen. Andrew Lanza and City Councilmen James Oddo and Vincent Ignizio. All are relatively young and quite popular.
Both parties are nervously considering the possibility that a quick Fossella resignation will force a special election to replace him.
If Fossella should resign before July 1st, Gov. Paterson has the option of calling a special election, or he could leave the seat vacant until the next Congress. But if Fossella resigns, and if Paterson calls a special election here, there would be no primary. In what would amount to one of the biggest backroom deals in recent political memory in NYC, party leaders would designate the nominees. And that could spell trouble for current candidates Domenic Recchia and Stephen Harrison:
Although Recchia had more cash on hand than Fossella as of March 31 – $325,000 to $248,000 – his greatest handicap may be the fact he comes from Brooklyn, while most of the Congressional district’s voters are in Staten Island. If there is a special election, it is possible that party leaders from that borough may try to tap one of their own as the nominee – though the top three Democratic elected officials on Staten Island, state Sen. Diane Savino, state Assemblyman Michael Cusick and City Councilman Michael McMahon, have all declined to run against Fossella in the past.
A Fossella resignation would be a once in a lifetime opportunity in this D+0.8 seat. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whispers continue to intensify over the weeks ahead.