Despite circulating petitions earlier this month with his name as a candidate for state Senate, ex-Councilman Tom Ognibene will not run, GOP sources say.
Ognibene, of Middle Village, was listed on Republican petitions as a candidate for the seat now occupied by state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach).
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.
Ex-City Councilman Tom Ognibene, a Republican, is circulating petitions to run for the state Senate against incumbent Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach), a source tells the Queens Chronicle.
Ognibene, a Middle Village attorney, served as a city councilman representing Middle Village, Maspeth, Ridgewood and Glendale from 1992 through 2001. He attempted to take back his Council seat in 2009, but lost to Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village). He later ran for lieutenant governor as the running mate of Carl Paladino, but in a fluke lost the GOP primary to Greg Edwards, county executive of Chautauqua County in Western New York, the preferred running mate of unsuccessful GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) was ceremonially sworn in for his second term Jan. 30 in the packed auditorium at PS 63 in Ozone Park, where he was a student from kindergarten through fourth grade.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James joined Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan, Bronx) and several more of Ulrich’s colleagues to speak at the swearing in, which was conducted by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park), standing in for Justice Augie Agate, who was under the weather. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also made an appearance, as did Rep. Greg Meeks (D-Jamaica), and prominent Republicans, including former Rep. Bob Turner, former mayoral candidate Joe Lhota and former Councilman Tom Ognibene.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) was ceremonially sworn in for his second term Jan. 30 in the packed auditorium at PS 63 in Ozone Park, where he was a student from kindergarten through fourth grade. City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James joined Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan, Bronx) and several more of Ulrich’s colleagues to speak at the swearing in, which was conducted by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park), standing in for Justice Augie Agate, who was under the weather. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also made an appearance, as did Rep. Greg Meeks (D-Jamaica), and prominent Republicans, including former Rep. Bob Turner, former mayoral candidate Joe Lhota and former Councilman Tom Ognibene. In his speech, Ulrich thanked his family and friends, and recognized his kindergarten teacher, Barbara Martuscello.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Every other day, Bob Holden is out at Juniper Valley Park, cutting the grass on the baseball fields where the area’s Little Leaguers play.
It’s labor, but for Holden it’s a labor of love.
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.
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.
The ongoing civil war between two factions of the Queens Republican Party is flaring up again — just in time for the 2013 city elections.
It all began when Queens Republican leaders failed to appropriately renominate Judith Stupp as the borough’s GOP commissioner on the Board of Elections by the Jan. 31 deadline. Stupp, a district leader from Bayside, is a key ally of Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa.
The latest draft of new City Council district maps that may be the final lines for the next decade, should they be approved, are raising eyebrows, and tempers.
The new maps are the final drafts proposed by the NYC Districting Commission and have been submitted to the City Council, which can approve or reject the proposal by Dec. 7. If no action is taken by the council, the maps are deemed approved.
In the final weeks of the Republican primary for the 15th state Senate district, Forest Hills attorney Juan Reyes, backed by the Queens GOP leadership, whacked his opponent, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), for being supported by the state Republicans, for often voting against the wishes of his party and even for being a devout Catholic with gay friends.
In the end, none of it appeared to have worked. If anything, it might have backfired.
In the final weeks of the Republican primary for the 15th state Senate district, Forest Hills attorney Juan Reyes, backed by the Queens GOP leadership, whacked his opponent, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), for being supported by the State Republicans, for often voting against the wishes of his party and even for being a devout Catholic with gay friends.
It’s been three and a half years since Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) won a special election to replace Joe Addabbo Jr. after the latter’s ascension to the state Senate. Now, the 27-year-old Ozone Park native is running against his predecessor for the seat in Albany.
The district — which includes Glendale, Howard Beach, Maspeth, Middle Village and Ozone Park — was in Republican hands for decades before Addabbo won it in 2008. It was redrawn to include conservative-leaning neighborhoods like Kew Gardens Hills, home to a large bloc of Orthodox Jews, and Breezy Point. The new lines make the district more competitive, and that attracted Ulrich, who had been lobbied to run for the seat in 2010 and also for the seat vacated by former Rep. Anthony Weiner in 2011, which was won by Rep. Bob Turner (R-Middle Village).
While a Queens judge has ruled that Phil Ragusa is the chairman of the borough’s Republican Party, there appears to be no truce between the two factions that have waged verbal assaults against each other, lobbing criticisms that each side has done nothing but obstruct Queens’ minority party from being able to function without internal strife.
Former Middle Village Councilman Tom Ognibene said he was considering appealing last week’s decision by Queens Supreme Court Justice Phyllis Flug. The ruling came after rival sections of the Queens GOP each nominated a new party leader at the end of September.
A judge ruled last week that Phil Ragusa (left) is the chairman of the Queens GOP. Tom Ognibene said he might appeal the justice’s decision.
It’s deja vu all over again for the Queens Republican Party as one faction tries to wrest power from the other.
With Democrats greatly outnumbering Republicans in Queens, the one thing the GOP leadership doesn’t need is disunity. But that’s just what’s happening as one dissatisfied faction continues its attempt to take over the leadership.
Those supporting GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa say the attempt is illegal and will not be successful. They also point to an article in capitalnewyork.com about the possibility of Republican Councilman Peter Koo of Flushing defecting, saying it is not true and was another attempt to split the county party.