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Like Father, Like Son In Staten Island


In the ongoing story of the GOP's troubles with their downticket candidates, I wrote last week about Bob Kelleher, the wannabe train conductor now set to challenge Montana Sen. Max Baucus on the Republican ticket. This week we have Francis H. Powers, an unknown Wall Street financier whom Staten Island Republicans selected to succeed New York Republican Rep. Vito Fossella, who's stepping down this fall after admitting that he fathered a love child. Unfortunately, though, Powers turns out to have perhaps the only family problem that can rival an illegitimate child: a child who is rising up to destroy him. His eldest son Fran, pictured above, has just announced that he plans to run against his father in the general. From "Staten Island Live"'s soap-operatic dispatch:

"This is not about my dad," said the younger Powers, 47, a master carpenter from Clifton who plays and sings with the Staten Island band Box of Crayons and runs an indie record label called Penny for the Guy Records. "I'm running against the Republican candidate. ... I'm not going to say that my dad treated me bad when I was a kid. I know his policies. I'm running against someone I know." ...

"I've tried very hard for many years to help my son," the elder Powers said in a statement released by his campaign. "Unfortunately, he's rejected everyone's help to live a healthy lifestyle. Regardless of whether he wants to run for Congress, I still stand ready to help him move his life in a positive direction." The elder Powers did not comment beyond the statement, but a Republican source said that Powers was referring to his son's "carefree" lifestyle in the music business.

Powers the Younger apparently is very likely to win the Libertarian Party's nomination -- and will probably secure a place on the ballot as "Francis M. Powers." As for the chance that a double Francis Powers presence on the ballot will completely and totally confound any voters wishing to vote the Republican line in the fall, Powers the Younger doesn't seem to mind: "We can't have the Republicans take this seat again," he told the Staten Island Advance. "A vote for my father is a vote for the straight Republican ticket."

--Eve Fairbanks