Did you enjoy your long holiday weekend,
I hope that you did.
Queens Republicans say Robert Beltrani of Jackson Heights, a judge on the New York State Division of Parole, is the new county GOP chairman, taking over for the late Phil Ragusa.
Queens Republicans have a new chairman.
After the death of Phil Ragusa last month, the county party’s executive vice chairman, Robert Beltrani of Jackson Heights, was automatically elevated to chairman.
I read with much sadness the news of the passing of Queens Republican Party Chairman Phil Ragusa. I met him on many occasions during a number of political campaigns I was involved with, for former Mayor Bloomberg, former state Sen. Frank Padavan and for Bob Friedrich, president of our Glen Oaks Village Co-op Association, when he ran for City Council and state Assembly.
I found Phil Ragusa most personable, honest and a man of integrity. I also found him to be concerned for the community and its residents, with ideas to make things better for all concerned. He will be truly missed for he was the voice of all we hold most dear.
God bless you, Phil, for all that you stood for, and let me also offer my heartfelt prayers for your family, who are missing you at this sad time of mourning.
Phil Ragusa, Queens Republican Party chairman, died Tuesday from leukemia.
Phil Ragusa, 74, of Beechhurst, who led the Queens Republican Party for seven years, many of them tumultuous, died Tuesday from leukemia at New York Presybterian Hospital.
Accolades from across the state and farther have poured in about the certified public accountant who took over the helm of the Queens party from former state Sen. Serphin Maltese, who stepped down in 2007.
Queens County Republican Chairman Phil Ragusa.
Phil Ragusa of Whitestone, the longtime chairman of the Queens Republican Party, has died. He was 74.
Queens GOP official Robert Hornak announced Ragusa's death in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon.
Former GOP mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis was fined more than $11,000 by the city’s Campaign Finance Board April 10 for a mailer against Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) during the latter’s re-election campaign last year.
The CFB fined him $1,473 for not including a “paid for by” notice on a mailer attacking Ulrich during Ulrich’s re-election campaign last year.
All these former Republican officials: Gov. Pataki, former Mayor Giuliani, former City Council members Mike Abel, Anthony Stabile, Tom Ognibene, Anthony Como and Dennis Gallagher, state Assemblyman Doug Prescott, state Sens. Frank Padavan and Serf Maltese and Congressman Bob Turner; along with current Councilman Eric Ulrich and Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa have all collectively failed to assist Aurelio “Tony” Arcabascio in raising sufficient funding to run a competitive race against Democrat Melinda Katz (“I’m the ‘real Queens” candidate, Arc says,” by Peter C. Mastrosimone, Oct. 24).
As of April 1, 2013 there were more than 1,076,000 active voters in Queens, including 703,202 Democrats; 128,335 Republicans; 206,770 “blanks” (with no declared party affiliation); 27,556 Independents; 5,862 Conservatives; 3,280 Working Families and 1,235 others.
Arcabascio needed to raise a million dollars months ago to pay for direct mail, telephone banks and newspaper, radio and television advertising to overcome these overwhelming odds if he was to be taken seriously. This was necessary to level the playing field against Katz.
No wonder the last Republican Queens borough president was James A. Lundy, who served from 1952 to 1957. Ditto for Nat Hentel, who served as the last GOP district attorney in 1970.
By comparison, the odds of winning any million-dollar lottery are greater!
Queens Republican Chairman Phil Ragusa, left, defeated Rep. Bob Turner, right, to keep his position as head of the party, but his election is likely headed to court.
The Queens Republican Party re-elected Chairman Phil Ragusa to another term leading the borough’s warring party at a meeting Friday that Ragusa’s opponents called a sham and appeared to only exacerbate the years-long divide in the party.
Queens Republicans, battered after years of infighting, held the reorganization meeting at 12:30 p.m. on Friday at the Reception House on Northern Boulevard in Flushing. At the meeting, Ragusa was re-elected chairman of the party by a resounding margin over former Rep. Bob Turner, who stood as the choice of the anti-Ragusa faction that has been led by Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and former Councilman Tom Ognibene, who attempted to wrestle control of the county organization out of Ragusa’s hands in 2011.
The Queens GOP feud may come to a head Friday afternoon.
Sources say Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa, left, is supporting the Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota, but how much the Queens Republican organization is helping, or if its help is even wanted, depends on whom in the party you ask.
For all of their perceived power in city politics, the Queens County organizations for both major political parties were not on the winning side of their respective mayoral primary races this year. Queens Democrats chose City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) as their choice for mayor, while the Queens Republican leadership choose supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis as their standard-bearer.
Both lost, and now with six weeks to go until the city selects its new mayor, the county parties are seeking to unify behind the primary winners, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former MTA chief Joe Lhota.
For many Queens Republicans, there was hope that Tuesday’s primary election for state committee positions, also known as district leaders, would put an end to the ongoing civil war within the party.
But as results trickled in Wednesday, it appeared there wasn’t any decisive decision one way or another.
A mailer from the 26th Assembly district GOP state committee race includes an endorsement from former Mayor Rudy Giuliani for Sal Bacarella and Anne Marie Devlin, who are running against Queens Republican Chairman Phil Ragusa and former Board of Elections commissioner Judith Stupp.
In tomorrow's Republican primary for the state committee positions in the 26th Assembly District, which includes Auburndale, Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck and Whitestone, Queens Republican Chairman Phil Ragusa and former Board of Elections Commissioner Judith Stupp are facing off against Sal Bacarella and Ann Marie Devlin, in a race that could end the years-long civil war in the county party.
As the Democratic primary races for citywide offices and open seats on the City Council top the headlines, on the Republican side are key elections that have gone relatively unnoticed, but could hold huge consequences to the future of the borough’s small, but powerful, GOP.
Across Queens, there are nine races for the state committee, a key position that often decides who gets the county organization’s backing for statewide races.
Frank Messano, chairman of the board of Italian Charities of America and a prominent figure in the Queens Republican Party and the Maspeth community, passed away Monday after a sudden illness at age 64.
“He was a presence at Republican conventions and had a great depth of knowledge of local and national politics,” former state Sen. Serphin Maltese said. “He was also my good friend.”
Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), who was arrested last month on accusations that he took part in a scheme to bribe Republican officials in order to get state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) onto the mayoral ballot as a Republican, announced Wednesday that he will not run for a second term.
Halloran, who was first elected in 2009, was arrested April 2, along with Smith and Vince Tabone, former vice chairman of the Queens Republican Party, for an alleged plot to solicit bribes to acquire a Wilson Pakula for Smith, a Democrat, in order for him to get a place on the GOP primary ballot for mayor. He was indicted late last month.
You can judge a person’s character by the company they keep “Defending the chairman”(Serphin R. Maltese, Frank Padavan and Michael J. Abel, Letters, April 18) concerning current Queens County Republican Chairman Phil Ragusa.
The indictments of both GOP Councilmember Dan Halloran and Queens County Republican Party Vice Chairperson Vincent Tabone are just the latest chapter in the spiraling decline over the past three decades of the once-relevant Queens County GOP.
One way of judging the health of any political party is looking at the number of candidates who qualify for ballot status on their line.
Up until the 1980s, the GOP routinely qualified candidates for all Congressional, state Senate, Assembly and City Council seats.
After the 1982 reapportionment, Democrats eliminated the districts of Queens GOP Assembly members Rosemary Gunning, John LoPresto, John Flack, Al DelliBovi and John Esposito. Sen.Padavan voted for this plan as it protected both his and the late Sen. Martin Knorr’sown gerrymandered districts.
In 2012, there wereno GOP candidates on the ballot for one of six Congressional, three of seven state Senate and 13 out of 18 state Assembly races in the general election. Watch how many Democratic City Council members will geta free pass with no GOP opponent this year.
After being elected in 1972, Padavan listed Republican-Conservative affiliations on his headquarters’ storefront. In the 1990s the Padavan and Assemblyman Doug Prescott team proudly campaigned as your local Republican/Conservative team. But Republican and Tea Party activists in 2010 were disappointed by Padavan’s campaign headquarters. There was no literature, bumper stickers, posters or lawn signs for his fellow GOP running mates.
A party’s ticket is only strong when all the candidates, from top to bottom, work as a team. Republicans are in trouble when they are afraid to identify party affiliations and campaign on their own. Other Republicans were confused with Padavan’s standard campaign theme, “Nobody Cares Like Frank,” when he obviously didn’t care about them. Both Padavan andMaltese failed for decades to build a Republican brand name when they ran from it. No wonder Maltese lost in 2008 and Padavan lost in 2010.
Queens Republicans are on the way to political extinction like the dinosaurs of old! How disappointing that voters will have to look elsewhere for any alternatives to the Queens County Democratic Party machine monopoly.
The failure to build a viable Queens GOP is the inheritance the lastunderdog Republican City Council member,Eric Ulrich,has to live with.
As former elected officials from Queens County, we have had the opportunity to work very closely with Republican Party Chairman Phil Ragusa. We have known Phil for over 30 years and in our experience, he is one of the most honest, diligent, decent and forthright people we have had the pleasure to be associated with in our many years in public service.
Phil has led this Queens County organization for the last seven years and has been an exceptional leader. We admire how he has shown great vision in growing the Queens Republican Party, recruiting a new group of active and dedicated members to lead our party into the future, and attracting talented and qualified candidates to run for office.
It is always shocking when someone in the political arena betrays the public trust and is accused of corrupt activities. It is even more disturbing when those accused are individuals we’ve known for years. What is even more unfortunate and disappointing is when political opportunists use such circumstances to advance their own narrow agendas and personal aspirations for power.
The recent scandal involving two Queens Republicans is allegedly of their own making and now, they must face the consequences. No one should be so cynical as to make baseless charges as to the integrity and forthrightness of Phil Ragusa, or to attempt to use this scandal to tarnish his good name and reputation. No one should be accused of guilt by association.
We realize that there are some who have been trying to replace Chairman Ragusa almost from the minute he was elected chairman. We are appalled at their crass attempt to twist these unfortunate events into a tool to use to undermine Chairman Ragusa’s authority and to serve their own purposes and longstanding agenda.
If these people had more experience, maturity and a basic sense of decency they might instead use this as an opportunity to bring people together and to rally the Queens Republican Party behind their leader and their fellow Republican candidates instead of heading down a path that can only result in damaging the party and further eroding the public’s trust in their Republican elected officials, party leaders and candidates.
We continue to give our full and unqualified support to Phil Ragusa as chairman of the Queens Republican Party and stand ready to defend him against these transparent attacks from longstanding and predictable foes.
Officially the chairman of the Queens Republican Party is Phil Ragusa. But if what U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says is true, that may come as a surprise to the borough party’s Deputy Chairman Vince Tabone, who was one of six people indicted in the scheme centered on state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) and Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone).
The battle between Queens Republican Chairman Phil Ragusa, left, and former Councilman Tom Ognibene, center, for control of the county party sparked up again after Councilman Eric Ulrich, right, an Ognibene ally, appointed a new commissioner to the city Board of Elections when Ragusa’s faction failed to correctly file renomination papers for the Republican Commissioner Judith Stupp.