“A stunning move,” says Politico. “A startling move,” the Post declares. “A bombshell announcement,” the Staten Island Advance calls it. And, less dramatically, “a move sure to raise political eyebrows,” as the Daily News describes it. All this hyperbole can only mean one thing: Vito Fossella, the family-values Republican congressman whose 2008 DUI arrest in Virginia led to the discovery of a mistress and love child, has been nominated for his old seat by the Staten Island GOP executive committee by a resounding 23–4 vote. “It is my firm belief that he [Fossella] is the strongest candidate we can field,” party chairman John Frisci says, hilariously.
It’s still unclear, however, whether Fossella would actually accept the nomination, even though past reports had him showing serious interest in a return to politics. A couple of things that might give him pause: The House Ethics Committee investigation that was closed when Fossella left Congress could be reopened if he returned, and all of Fossella’s past transgressions could become an issue during what is sure to be a heated primary battle. “It’s going to be ugly, it’s going to be nasty,” says Guy Molinari, a Staten Island political boss and Fossella’s former mentor before their falling-out, who now backs another Republican candidate for the seat, “but he has to know that would come out in the course of a campaign. Everything he has done will be brought to light by me in this campaign.” Wait, is there more that needs to be brought to light that hasn’t been? How many families does this guy have?