Former Rep. Vito Fossella told Newsmax TV
on Friday that he might run for the congressional seat being vacated by disgraced politician Michael Grimm — a possibility he had earlier dismissed.
"What I said earlier in the week, when obviously everybody started searching for names, was that I was in a very good position in my life and not really considering it," Fossella told Betsy McCaughey, guest host of "The Steve Malzberg Show."
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"[But] over the last few days, frankly, a lot of people have come up to me . . . and asked me to reconsider, and I gather the door is not totally shut on it.
"I’m not actively pursuing it, but I guess, frankly, anything could happen."
Earlier this week, Grimm, who pleaded guilty to a felony tax charge, announced that he would resign from Congress on Jan. 5, giving up his representation of New York's 11th Congressional District, consisting of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn.
Fossella represented the district for six terms, from 1997 to 2009.
While not throwing his hat into the ring, Fossella was certainly talking like somebody who is interested.
"I was privileged to serve six times in Congress and really enjoyed the time in public service and representing my hometown in Congress," he said.
Asked about House Speaker John Boehner's decision to let Democrats push through a federal spending bill instead of withholding funding to protest President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration, Fossella was diplomatic.
"I was surprised, frankly, they did it. I never in all my years had too many people come to me on the street of Staten Island and Brooklyn and say, you know what? You’re not spending enough of my money," he said.
"I’ve always taken the approach, and I say this humbly, I never lost an election by saying the American people know more what to do with their money than me and the entire Washington bureaucracy in Congress."
Fossella said the midterm elections were a clear message for a return to Republican ideals.
"The American people spoke pretty convincingly in November to repudiate the president’s agenda . . . This feckless, reckless approach to spending everything and everybody’s tax dollars has sort of come to an end," he said.
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"The Republicans . . . if they get their act together, I believe they will, to coordinate between the Senate and the House and establish some fundamental, sound fiscal policy."
Asked by McCaughey whether he has a GOP favorite for the 2016 presidential race, Fossella said:
"I don’t. It’s great to see so many quality conservatives step up into the arena and really articulating the variety of views, so I don’t.
"Obviously a guy like — and not to say that he’s the favorite — but I look at a guy like Jeb Bush, a governor of the great state of Florida, and what he did down there, and he’s got to be in the top three or four.
"You have a lot of good voices who represent the interests and the principles of many, but it’s too early. What I’ve also come to discover is it's not just the individual and the voice and what that person stands for, you need an operation. You need a campaign, you need people."
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