12/12/2013 01:57 pm ET

Vito Fossella Floats Rumors That 'Significant' GOPers Want Him To Challenge Michael Grimm In 2014


A few weeks ago, the New York Daily News' Dan Friedman reported that a Justice Department investigation into alleged fundraising improprieties involving Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) remained open, 16 months after the matter was first made public. A Grimm spokeswoman characterized the allegations as "baseless" and "without merit," and Grimm himself has continually denied any wrongdoing.

But today's hot-hot rumor, the New York Post's Carl Campanile reports, is that Republicans are "nervous" the investigation could hurt Grimm's reelection chances, and they have "quietly reached out to former GOP Congressman Vito Fossella" as a possible replacement. At least, according to Vito Fossella, this is a thing that has happened:

Fossella, 48, told The Post that he has been contacted by local and national Republicans — including former congressional colleagues and other D.C. power brokers — to sound out his interest in returning to Congress.

“There are significant people who have approached me to run,” Fossella said. “They say I did a good job and should enter the public arena again.

Well, let's hear from some other significant people, shall we? The Grimm campaign says that this is all "a false statement planted by Democrats that lacks any credibility." New York State GOP chair Ed Cox says, "Michael Grimm has the party’s full support and any other rumors are simply false." National Republican Congressional Committee chair Rep. Greg Walden says, "This is a complete fabrication and a ridiculous notion." And NRCC spokesman Ian Pryor says that the "GOP is totally committed to Grimm’s re-election."

There's a good reason why! Fossella's career in the House of Representatives came to an end shortly after a drunk driving arrest led to the revelation that he'd fathered a child out of wedlock and had a secret family. Basically, he lived three seasons of "Scandal" in the course of a few days.

Back when Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer had made "being a disgraced New York City politician mounting a comeback" briefly voguish again, Fossella was asked if he wanted to get in on the act as well. He responded, "I don’t have that desire to run right now."

All of this raises some questions. Such as: "Even if Michael Grimm were a candidate worth being 'nervous' about in 2014, is there no one else in New York's 11th district besides Vito Fossella to whom Republicans can turn?"

The district contains the whole of Staten Island and several chunks of southern Brooklyn. Surely someone else could represent it in Congress, if need be? That's like, 800,000 people.

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