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GOP Leaders On S.I. Meet To Pick Fossella's Replacement

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Staten Island's Republican leaders met Monday to decide on a replacement for embattled United States Congressman Vito Fossella.

The executive committee interviewed some candidates Monday evening behind closed doors.

But uncomfortable with the pickings, Staten Island Republican Party Chairman John Friscia postponed the deadline for their choice until Thursday.

"The last time I remember something even remotely similar to this was probably back in the late 1970s," said Friscia.

A top pick is State Senator Andrew Lanza, a popular politician, but also a young father said to be reluctant to be further from his kids. And, if Lanza leaves Albany, Democrats could pounce and try to take over the State Senate.

It's no surprise then that State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno wants Lanza -- who marched in a Memorial Day parade Monday -- to stay.

"We've got a lot to think about again, all in the context of what's best for the people of this wonderful place we call Staten Island and consistent with doing right by my family," said Lanza.

State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Maltese is also said to be considering the position. Also on the list is attorney Glenn Yost and artist Scott Lobaido, whose controversial sketches include a protest against Mayor Michael Bloomberg after a Greenpoint firehouse was closed.

"I'm definitely in this race, absolutely," said Yost.

"I have retired from that radical element and, again, I just see this opportunity as an American dream," said Lobaido.

The Democratic field is not chosen either, but around the country, a souring mood has Republicans losing seats they thought safe. As for Fossella, his parade-time remarks stuck to a practice of saying little.

"I'm just honored to be a part of this parade," said the congressman. "I've always been honored to represent this community."

The only question is who will be the next to represent this community, and will it be a Republican.

- Josh Robin

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