The endorsement of Donald Trump was a key ingredient in the political comeback of ex-Rep. Vito Fossella in the race for Staten Island Borough President.
With all absentee ballots counted Tuesday, Fossella — driven from Congress 13 years ago by scandal — won the Republican nomination for Borough President by 290 votes out of more than 18,000 cast.
New York GOP sources generally agreed that Trump’s endorsement was pivotal to Fossella’s narrow win over City Councilman Steven Matteo — especially since the former congressman only entered the race in March after Matteo had lined up much of the Staten Island GOP organization.
"President Trump was gracious enough to support me," Fossella told the New York Post.
In 2008, when he was considered a young congressman to watch, Fossella was arrested on charges of drunken driving in Northern Virginia. It was subsequently revealed that he had a second family in the Washington D.C., suburbs and this led to his resignation from Congress.
But Fossella, now 56, reconciled with wife Mary Pat. He also remained active in GOP politics and finally made his comeback when the borough presidency became open this year.
The New York Conservative Party, which holds Row C on the Empire State ballot, always backed Fossella in his races for Congress. In large part because of his late entry into the borough president race, however, the Conservative endorsement went instead to self-help author and former Richmond County (Staten Island) GOP Chairman Leticia Remauro, who placed third in the Republican primary behind Fossella and Matteo.
Democrats have a strong contender in attorney-businessman Mark Murphy, son of the late Democrat Rep. (1962-80) Jack Murphy. In 2012, the young Murphy drew 46% of the vote against then-GOP Rep. Michael Grimm.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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