Fossella Decides Not to Run for Reelection

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By Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rep. Vito J. Fossella (R-N.Y.) announced yesterday that he will not seek reelection in November, the fallout of a drunken-driving arrest in Alexandria earlier this month that revealed he has a child through a long-standing extramarital affair.

But Fossella said he will finish his term, providing welcome news to Republican leaders who had publicly encouraged his departure. The GOP lamented the prospect of a special election in that district, especially after losing three House seats in such elections since March.

"This choice was an extremely difficult one, balanced between my dedication to service to our great nation and the need to concentrate on healing the wounds that I have caused to my wife and family," Fossella wrote to his constituents.

Fossella, 43, becomes the 26th House Republican to announce an intention either to retire or to seek different office in November. Four others left the House in the middle of this Congress.

More than a dozen of those seats, including Fossella's, are considered ripe opportunities for Democratic pickups in the fall, according to independent political handicappers.

Seven House Democrats are retiring or running for higher office, with only two considered possible Republican takeovers.

Fossella, who is married and has three children living in Staten Island, was arrested May 1 in Alexandria for driving while intoxicated. He told police that he was going to pick up his daughter.

He subsequently admitted to a long-standing affair with Laura Fay, a former liaison officer for the Air Force who accompanied congressional delegations to Europe -- trips that Fossella attended. Fay is the mother of their 3-year-old daughter.

"Representative Fossella has made the decision he felt was in the best interest of his family, his constituents and his party," said House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).

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