I just spoke with former assemblyman Bob Straniere, the Staten Island Republican who is running for the Vito Fossella Congressional seat and, weirdly, was nominated to be a judge last night.
Straniere said, "I am running for Congress," and also, "I have no interest in being judge."
When I asked how he got the nomination, he said, "I have no idea. I had a primary two weeks ago [for congress] and I’m not interested" in a judgeship.
Being nominated to a judgeship this late in the election calendar is one of the ways a party can switch their nominees. If Straniere got out of the race, it could hypothetically pave the way for Vito Fossella to re-enter the race. (Fossella, for his part, released a statement with that annoying “not a candidate” formulation that always suggests a desire to leave the option open.)
I asked Straniere if he thought operatives in the Republican Party, with whom he’s had a strained relationship, were trying to undermine his candidacy. He said he had no idea.