051908vitoparades.jpgQuestion: If a politician gets arrested for drunk driving and then has to cop to an extra-marital affair that spawned a secret love-child, does that mean he's unelectable? Embattled Republican congressman Vito Fossella doesn't think so; he's telling friends and advisers that that he thinks he can win re-election, the Times has it.

After lying low for a little while, Fossella began tip-toeing back into the public eye this weekend with an appearance at a Staten Island Memorial Day parade, where he was reportedly greeted “warmly while marching.” But blogger Charles Winter says he “looked like nothing more than a high school jock who cheated on his teen girlfriend.” And Great Kills resident Ronni Maggi told the News, "I think showing up at a parade is flaunting it. He's in disgrace."

Fossella, the only New York City Republican in Congress, has represented a district that includes Staten Island and parts of southern Brooklyn since 1997. Though he’s continued to stay in office, more recent elections have been close, and Democrats are crossing their fingers that he decides to run again this fall. Republicans, who seem to be facing an increasingly bleak election season, seem hopeful he’ll withdraw – though none will yet say so on the record.

Guy V. Molinari, former Staten Island borough president, conceded that “this is a bad Republican year, politically, and that doesn’t help matters. [But] if he chooses to run, I think he can win. It would take an all-out effort and a substantial amount of money. But there are a lot of people pledging support for him.” If convicted of drunk driving, Fossella would have to serve a mandatory five-day jail sentence.

Photograph from the Staten Island Advance.