Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Staten Island GOP Goes Into Civil War Mode


Manhattan hot dog vendor refuses to move to Staten Island until voters there send him to DC to live

I think I've written more about the Staten Island/Brooklyn district (NY-13) more than almost any district in the country-- mostly because it's just the most comic and tragic. That link will take you to all the posts so I don't have to go through the whole story again about Vito Fossella getting drunk and exposing the fact that he has two families, one in Staten Island and one closer to the DC office and how he was forced to retire and then how the Stalinists from both political party hierarchies tried inserting their own candidates. And then there was this whole mess with a Republican father-son dispute and then the father died and now... well now, the 5 Republican Party bosses sat down in a room and pulled the much-hated hot dog vendor, Robert Straniere, out of a hat and anointed him "candidate." End of story? No way! Staten Island éminence grise, Guy Molinari is ready for a fight.
Four years after he was rejected by the Staten Island Republican organization and by South Shore GOP voters for another term in the state Legislature, former Assemblyman Robert Straniere is the Republican Party pick to run for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Vito Fossella.

Straniere was tabbed by a five-member GOP committee on vacancies last night to replace the late Frank Powers as the party designee for the bi-borough seat. Straniere is now set to battle Dr. Jamshad Wyne, the GOP finance chairman, in a Sept. 9 party primary.

...The Straniere move also drew an acid response from former GOP Borough President Guy Molinari, a longtime Straniere foe.

"I'm terribly outraged by the actions of the committee on vacancies," said Molinari, who already has pledged to work to remove borough GOP chairman John Friscia and other party leaders when they are up for re-election next year. "They couldn't have made a worse mistake. The party was already in desperate shape. They've all but buried it."

Party members and others also have expressed concern about Straniere's real estate and business dealings.

"Two words that strike me: Ethics and morality," said Molinari. "There have been so many questions raised about ethics in government over the last few months, the last thing we could have expected is to see someone put up for office with serious ethical concerns. That's mystifying."

Maybe people in the district would take Straniere more seriously if he lived there. He prefers the glitz of Manhattan-- and was even living there while he was representing State Island in the State Assembly! After that came out, he was defeated in a GOP primary. Now he says that if he wins the election he'll move back to Staten Island. Molinari told the NY Times that he isn't the only prominent Republican that will work for Staniere's defeat. "This man was a candidate for various offices for 20 years, and he brought nothing but grief to the Republican Party. We threw him out of office and got him off of Staten Island. And we don’t want him back.”

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