Disgraced ex-Congressman Vito Fossella emerged from political exile on Tuesday to say he’s seeking the Republican nomination for Staten Island borough president — more than a dozen years after a second-family scandal killed his career.
“We’re distributing petitions, starting today,” Fossella told The Post.
Fossella, 56, said he wanted to push back against the progressive politics of outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio and help lead Staten Island’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’ve seen what happened the past eight years, particularly the last four years: support for defunding the police, shootings in the middle of the day,” he said.
“We have people fleeing the city, fleeing Staten Island for greener pastures. We need to get back to basics. People deserve solutions and a strong voice. I believe I am that person.”
Fossella also said he’d made amends for the affair in which he fathered a child out of wedlock and had reconciled with his wife, childhood sweetheart Mary Pat.
“I believe in second chances. All human beings make mistakes. I accepted responsibility for my actions,” he said.
Fossella was an obscure member of the City Council when he was elected to Congress in a special election in 1997 with the help of more than $1 million in funding from the national Republican Party.
A staunch conservative, he was re-elected five times but didn’t run again following a 2008 arrest for drunken driving in Alexandria, Va.
A week later after the bust, the married father of three acknowledged carrying on a longstanding affair with former US Air Force intelligence officer, Laura Fay, with whom he fathered a daughter.
The admission followed the revelation that Fay had picked him up following his arrest.
The Staten Island borough president’s job is up for grabs in November because the two-term incumbent, Republican James Oddo, is barred from seeking re-election due to term limits.
Democrats outnumber Republicans in Staten Island, 144,357 to 107,085, according to the latest state enrollment figures.
But the borough’s voters tend to favor GOP candidates, with 57 percent supporting then-President Donald Trump last year, the same portion that backed him in 2016.