The Queens Chronicle will co-host a debate between incumbent state Senator Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) and his opponent Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18 at Our Lady of Grace Church, at 100-05 159 Ave. in Howard Beach.
The Forum newspaper and good government group Citizens Union join the Chronicle as cohosts of the debate, which will be held less than three weeks before voters go to the polls in what could be the tightest state legislative race in New York State.
Members of the public can submit questions they would like to see the candidates answer to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the Queens Chronicle, Attn: Debate Questions, 62-33 Woodhaven Blvd. Rego Park, NY 11374.
“I look forward to moderating this debate between two fine public servants,” said Mark Weidler, Queens Chronicle publisher.
The 15th district, which Addabbo won in 2008, defeating 20-year incumbent Republican Serphin Maltese, was redrawn last winter to encompass not only the neighborhoods along Woodhaven Boulevard including Middle Village, Glendale, Woodhaven, Ozone Park and Howard Beach — all of which were already in the district — but also portions of Forest Hills, Kew Gardens Hills, Far Rockaway and the western portion of the Rockaway Peninsula including Breezy Point. The district is more GOP-leaning than the one Addabbo won in 2008 and was reelected to represent in 2010 and includes a large bloc of Orthodox Jewish voters.
Senate Republicans backed Ulrich for the seat since his announcement, with some suggesting the district was drawn with him in mind as a candidate. But Ulrich, who holds the City Council seat previously held by Addabbo, did not have a free pass to the nomination. He faced off against Forest Hills lawyer Juan Reyes who was backed by the Queens GOP in last month’s primary. but defeated him by 40 points.
Addabbo is running on the Democratic and Working Families party lines, while Ulrich has the Republican, Conservative and Independence party nominations.