Robert Novak

Republican insiders believe that Specter might decide to run as an independent if conservatives launch another serious Republican primary campaign against him, as they did in 2004. A three-way election would all but guarantee the election of a Democrat.


Hard-pressed House Republican campaign managers breathed a sigh of relief when disgraced Rep. Vito Fossella, the only Republican House member from New York City, did not resign from Congress this month, as it was widely reported that he would.

A Fossella resignation before July 1 would have enabled Democratic Gov. David Paterson to call a special election to fill the seat. Although the Staten Island district long has been held by Republicans, even more distinctly Republican districts in Illinois, Louisiana and Mississippi have been lost this year in special elections.

House Republican leaders did not want to conduct another special election, particularly in the wake of the Fossella scandal. When the six-term congressman recently was arrested for drunken driving in the Washington area, it was revealed he was maintaining separate households in New York and Washington. He satisfied what party leaders wanted by announcing he would not seek re-election but not resign for now.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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