A deep fissure in the Queens Republican party will play out in public, and would appear to make a GOP primary inevitable in the 15th Senate District.
City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) announced his intention to take on incumbent Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) three weeks ago.
But Ulrich is part of an insurgent faction that opposes the leadership of party Chairman Philip Ragusa, and on Thursday, the party leadership gave its endorsement to Forest Hills attorney Juan Reyes.
Primaries for state legislative offices are on Sept. 13, meaning the party infighting likely is destined to drag on throughout the entire summer.
“I am honored to have the Queens GOP’s endorsement as I campaign to bring out district’s vital message to Albany,” Reyes said in a statement issued by the party on Thursday. “That message is one of less spending, lower taxes, less burdensome regulations and more accountability, more transparency, and more freedom that leads to greater growth and economic strength.”
Reyes is married with three children and is a Queens native. After attending Emory University and Quinnipiac School of Law, he worked for former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kansas) and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
He also formerly served as a counsel and deputy counsel in the administration of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
He now works for the Manhattan law firm Reed Smith, where he works in the firm’s business and finance division as well its real estate division. He specializes in planning and zoning matters.
Ragusa said the party was “pleased to officially endorse Juan Reyes” in the press release.
Ulrich, who is the New York City Chairman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, has been on the council since winning Addabbo’s old seat in a special election in 2009. He could not be reached for comment.