Republican Robert Straniere, who’s running for Rep. Vito Fossella’s seat, was nominated as a Manhattan judicial candidate last night – a move that could pave the way for the disgraced congressman to get back on the ballot and run for re-election.
Several Republican sources said the New York County GOP made the nomination with the understanding that Straniere would accept it.
The move was apparently made with the backing of former Borough President Guy Molinari and state Sen. Andrew Lanza, who hope to entice disgraced retiring GOP Rep. Vito Fossella back into the race. With Straniere accepting the judgeship nod, he would be wiped off the ballot and the local GOP could appoint a replacement candidate. The only problem? For now, at least, Straniere says that he won’t play ball:
But Straniere, a former Staten Island assemblyman who’s been at odds with fellow Republicans, hasn’t been contacted about the judicial post and “unequivocally” plans to turn it down, his spokesman told The Post.
“He’s heard rumors, but he doesn’t know anything about it,” spokesman Marco DeSena insisted. “There is no chance . . . If contacted, he will say no and he very much expects to be the next congressman from Staten Island and Brooklyn.”
And Fossella himself? Still not sounding eager:
“I’ve maintained all along that I’m not a candidate,” Fossella (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) said in a telephone interview. “That’s still the case now. Very simply, nothing has changed.” […]
Given the turmoil in the markets, Fossella said he listened to entreaties from Molinari and others “out of respect.”
Said Fossella, “A lot of good people have again urged me to reconsider. I’ve been very blessed and humbled by that. I’m grateful. But at the end of it all, I’m still not a candidate.”
We’ll find out in short order if Molinari and the boys are able to strong-arm Straniere from this race; as the Advance reports, Straniere has until midnight to accept and be placed in nomination. It seems unlikely, but you just can’t predict what’s going to happen next in New York’s 13th, home of the greatest political soap opera of our time.