GOP Again Scrambling in Fossella District

Posted June 23, 2008 at 2:02pm

Republicans must be wondering whether their attempts to hold onto their lone Congressional seat in New York City are snakebit, after their likely nominee, retired Wall Street investor Frank Powers, died suddenly Sunday morning.

Powers, 67, had been tapped to run for the seat now held by Rep. Vito Fossella (R), who was favored for re-election until he was caught up in a sex scandal last month and forced to abandon his bid for a seventh term. But Powers was recruited only after bigger Republican names, such as Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, state Sen. Andrew Lanza, and New York City Councilman James Oddo, declined to run.

With the July 10 filing deadline fast approaching — and candidates must turn in at least 1,250 valid petition signatures to qualify for the ballot — early indications are that none of the three officials will change their minds. Fossella also will not jump back into the race.

“My plans for the future have not changed,” the Congressman told the Staten Island Advance in an interview Monday.

As of Monday afternoon, party leaders were reportedly discussing lawyer and TV journalist Lisa Giovinazzo, state Supreme Court Justice Joseph Maltese, and retired investment banker Paul Atanasio as possible ballot replacements. Physician Jamshad Wyne, the finance chairman for the Staten Island Republican Party, is also seeking the GOP nod.

Democratic leaders, meanwhile, are high on their likely nominee, City Councilman Michael McMahon. Lawyer Stephen Harrison, Fossella’s challenger in 2006, is also competing in the September Democratic primary.