Vito Fossella, a six-term Republican congressman from New York City from 1997 to 2009, has denied reports he may run for his old seat again.
"Perhaps one day down the road I would reconsider, but for now it's more about just serving my state, my country, and my community in my own little way," Fossella told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
Fossella's comments haven't slammed the door shut on rumors percolating in New York political circles that he may throw his hat into the ring and challenge incumbent Republican Rep. Michael Grimm.
Last week, Fossella also told the Staten Island Advance that the "the door is always open,"
and the paper noted that the popular former congressman had been "approached by Republicans about making a bid."
"I've been asked over the last few years about reconsidering and considering running again for office, in particular Congress that I was privileged to serve and represent the great people of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn," he told Newsmax TV on Monday.
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Fossella said the requests had left him "flattered and humbled," but said, "I have no plan to seek a return to public office, and specifically that of Congress."
"I've considered public service to be among the more noble callings, it's the reason I got into it to begin with . . . it was a great privilege, a great honor in a way to help and shape the policy of this great country. It was wonderful."
An online survey conducted by the Advance last week suggests Fossella may have the grassroots support to defeat Grimm.
More than 85 percent of respondents in the unscientific survey responded that they would back Fossella and agreed with the view that he "was a good representative for Staten Island and his transgressions should be forgiven."
The political career of Fossella — once considered a potential candidate for New York City mayor — was jolted in 2008 when he was arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated in Virginia.
Since Fossella left Congress, he has become a powerhouse in New York political circles.
He currently serves as managing director of Park Strategies, a New York-based consulting firm headed by former Republican U.S. Senator Al D'Amato.
Earlier this year, Fossella's Staten Island political machine backed Republican billionaire John Catsimatidis in the city's hotly contested Republican primary for mayor.
Catsimatidis lost the race, but, with Fossella's help, won Staten Island by a significant margin.
Grimm also may face additional political headwinds. The Advance noted that "some Republicans are said to be nervous that Grimm could lose the seat for the GOP amid an investigation over alleged fundraising irregularities stemming from his maiden race."
Grimm says there's nothing to the claims.
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