Finding a candidate to replace Representative Vito J. Fossella, who will step down at the end of the year, is proving much harder than Republican Party leaders ever imagined.
Since Mr. Fossella admitted having a child out of wedlock more than two weeks ago, Republican after Republican, including some of the district's best known elected officials, has opted not to run for his seat. Now Republican leaders are seriously questioning whether they can find a candidate capable of winning a seat that the party has held for 28 years.
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