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It’s Vito!

Democratic House cleaning doesn’t claim Bay Ridge Republican

The Brooklyn Paper
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Rep. Vito Fossella, the lone Republican in the city’s congressional delegation, held onto his seat this week in a win over opponent Steve Harrison, garnering 57 percent of the vote, despite a Democratic takeover of the House, a hard-fought campaign by Harrison, and a murky episode involving Fossella’s brother chasing down pedestrians with a baseball bat.

Harrison, a Bay Ridge attorney, got 43 percent of the vote.

Harrison had hoped to win by linking Fossella, a strong supporter of the Iraq War, to a weakened President Bush.

But that discontent was not enough to unseat Fossella, even in the majority Democratic district, which encompasses Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Gravesend and all of Staten Island.

Political consultants point to Fossella’s war chest and name recognition as his chief advantages. He raised more than $1.3 million — in contrast to Harrison’s $109,000 — and was able to advertise on both cable television and radio.

In October, Assemblyman John Lavelle head of the Staten Island Democratic Party, told The Brooklyn Papers that Harrison would need at least $250,000 to unseat Fossella.

“Without that, he could make a very respectable showing,” said Lavelle.

Despite endorsements by Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Sheepshead Bay), and “robo-calls” from both Sen. Hillary Clinton and her husband, the money did not end up rolling in. Nor did the votes.

See The Brooklyn Papers for full coverage of the race — and many others.

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