An appearance by ex-Rep. Vito Fossella (R) at a 9/25 health-care forum “has rekindled speculation” that he may seek to challenge Rep. Michael McMahon (D).
Forum attendee Joe Tacopino: “It looked like a bit of a setup, like people were giving him a forum to address people.” But atty Tom Sipp, an organizer of the non-partisan forum, said “there was no plan to have Fossella attend the event. He said Fossella spoke in response to an audience question about the budget process.”
The recent speculation also has been stoked by Fossella’s appearance at a firehouse on 9/11, “and at a parade honoring” the Staten Island Little League World Series team. Rumors “persist” that Fossella’s Uncle Frank and his father, Vito Sr. — the “master cylinders” of Fossella’s “machine” — “have never given up hope” of regaining the seat. One observer: “I hear Vito Sr. is telling people, ‘Keep your powder dry.’ There’s only one translation of that.”
But “questions remain” over whether the memory of the drunk-driving/child out of wedlock scandal “remains too fresh.” Still, Tacopino said the forum audience of around 100, “with a good number of senior citizens included,” was “very supportive” of Fossella.
Businessman Mike Allegretti (R) is already in the race (Wrobleski, Staten Island Advance, 9/29).