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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Top Republican Concedes They Are Likely To Lose Key NY House Seat

In yet another sign of the disarray gripping GOP ranks, a top Republican in New York is now flatly stating that the party is such a mess that they are very likely to lose a key House seat in the state.

The race in question is that wacky contest we've been posting about here regularly -- the battle to take over the open seat of Vito Fossella, who announced his retirement after a personal scandal.

"The overall lay of the land is that the Republican Party in Staten Island is a great big mess," said former Rep. Guy Molinari, an elder statesman among Staten Island Republicans, when I called to check in on the state of the race. "It's shameful and embarrassing to people like myself, who've been active since -- actually decades."

The GOP went through a long and hard search for a candidate, eventually settling on a businessman who died in his sleep shortly thereafter. And they've been on a fruitless search for a new candidates since then.

Molinari said that the Democrats have quickly rallied around Michael McMahon, a New York City Councilor, and conceded that McMahon is in a strong position to win. "I wouldn't jump to that conclusion yet, but I would say this," Molinari said. "Based on the candidates that have surfaced so far, yes, we're going to lose the seat."

Molinari said that the party might eventually rally around Paul Atanasio, a businessman from Brooklyn who he likes quite a lot. But he conceded that some local leaders might not play along with even this choice, so the search for a candidate may continue.

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