Fossella won't seek re-election

May 20, 2008 4:30:28 AM PDT
Congressman Vito Fossella won't seek re-election after his arrest and the revelation of his affair, two people familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make the announcement public. Fossella was expected to make the announcement on Tuesday.

The Staten Island Republican has been under fire since his drunken-driving arrest at the beginning of the month led to revelations of an affair that produced a daughter. The 43-year-old congressman also has three children with his wife.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government requested that the House ethics committee examine official trips Fossella took with the woman, Laura Fay, in 2002 and 2003.

At the time, Fay was an Air Force officer and a military liaison to Congress. He faces five days in a Virginia jail if convicted of the drunken-driving charge.

Fossella, who was elected to Congress in 1997, has spent weeks avoiding questions about his tangled personal life.

If he resigns before July 1, New York Gov. David Paterson, a Democrat, could call a special election. That would spell trouble for the Republican party, which has lost three special congressional elections in a row, and is low on money to fund such races, particularly one in such an expensive media market as New York City.