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Affair revelation halts GOP congressman's re-election pursuit

  • Story Highlights
  • In May, Fossella ran a stop light in Virginia and failed a breath test
  • The statement he gave police revealed his extramarital affair, and the couple's child
  • Fossella is the 30th Republican to announce they would not seek re-election
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A New York congressman who admitted to fathering a child out of wedlock with a woman who bailed him out of jail on a drunk driving charge this month announced Monday that he will not run for re-election.

"This choice was an extremely difficult one, balanced between my dedication to service to our great nation and the need to concentrate on healing the wounds that I have caused to my wife and family," Rep. Vito Fossella, a six-term Republican, said in a written statement.

Fossella, who represents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, is the 30th Republican to announce they would not seek re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

As a result, Democrats, who hold a 236-199 majority in the House, could see gains in the November election.

Fossella's sudden downfall began soon after midnight on May 1, when he ran a red light in Alexandria, Virginia and was stopped by police. A breath test put his blood-alcohol level at 0.17 percent, more than double the state's legal limit, according to his arrest report.

The congressman apologized the next day for what he said was "an error in judgment."

A week later, the 43-year-old, married Fossella was apologizing again to his family and constituents because of his secret extramarital affair with Laura Fay.

It became public because the police report said Fossella told the arresting officer he was going to visit a sick daughter when he was stopped, identifying Fay's street as his destination.

Fossella told reporters after his arrest that he had been celebrating the Super Bowl champion New York Giants' appearance at the White House with constituents.

Fossella first came to Congress in a 1997 special election and has won five full terms since.

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