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Queens Chronicle

Sheikh backs Ulrich, Amato endorses Scala

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Posted: Friday, October 20, 2017 2:44 pm

The gloves are off in the race for the 32nd Council District.

Incumbent Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) Friday received the endorsement of Democrat Helal Sheikh, who came in second to Howard Beach attorney Mike Scala in the Democratic primary last month.

“It’s not about the party,” said Sheikh, standing outside his former campaign headquarters with members of the Bengali community. “It’s about the person who I believe can do it better for our community.”

The crossing of party lines came one day after Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Park), whose district overlaps with the councilman’s, backed the challenger.

“Mike Scala jumped into this race with great energy, winning a crowded primary field,” the assemblywoman said in a release issued by the Howard Beach attorney’s campaign. “He’s passionate about the fight to bring real mass transit options to South Queens. That’s a big issue for me and for my district, and we’re thrilled to have his advocacy in our corner.”

The Council hopeful was also backed by Queens Democratic Party Chairman Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx) on Tuesday.

“Mike is a dedicated fighter for his community, a candidate of unwavering principles, and he is the clear choice for the people of the 32nd District on November 7,” Crowley said in a statement.

Ulrich, responding to Pheffer Amato’s endorsement of his challenger, said, “Stacey and I are good friends and Mike is very lucky to have her endorsement.

“But this is partisan politics,” he continued. “Democrats support Democrats, Republicans support Republicans. I’m just glad I have a lot of other great Democrats supporting me like Mike Miller, Phil Goldfeder and now Helal Sheikh.”

After Sheikh endorsed Ulrich, the councilman unveiled a Scala-affiliated flier with “racist undertones” supposedly found in Rockaway during the primary race — and provided to his campaign last week.

The flier states “We don’t need someone with radical views like Helal Sheikh representing Rockaway ... If you don’t vote, they win.” It did not say who paid for the note.

“I don’t know who ‘they’ is, I don’t know what radical views Helal Sheikh espoused during the primary campaign,” the Republican said. “I think it was meant to scare the voters in Rockaway not to vote for Helal Shiekh because he comes from a very vibrant and growing Bengali, Muslim community.”

A Scala campaign spokesman “categorically” denied having any prior knowledge of the flier and charged “someone associated with Eric’s campaign” with making it to “dissuade a vulnerable community of South Asian voters into voting against their actual interests.

“It is disgusting and it is the act of desperate individuals without any principles whatsoever,” the spokesman continued.

An Ulrich campaign spokesman responded, “Mike Scala should apologize to the Bangladeshi and Muslim community for his despicable slur against their faith and stop hiding behind lies.”

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