‘Independent’ D32 candidate goes R 1

Rubén Cruz, a Richmond Hill resident who insists he is running for Council District 32 as an independent candidate, has filed to run in the Republican primary.

Board of Elections filings released last week showed that Council District 32’s Republican primary is potentially expanding from a two- to three-candidate race.

Rubén Cruz, a Richmond Hill resident who told the Chronicle back in November that he was planning to run as an independent, filed as a Republican.

Cruz, an entrepreneur who runs a theater and film group for seniors, insisted to the Chronicle that he is still running as an independent voice even though he registered with the Republican Party.

“The Republican Party is divided here,” Cruz said. “I didn’t know how bad it was until I got into this arena and I realized I didn’t belong there either. I need to do this independent and show what we could do,” he said.

Cruz said he doesn’t identify with either the Democratic or Republican party lines, but he thought that Republican primary voters would be on his wavelength as “independent thinkers.”

“We’ve always been independent thinking, which is why we stand up and say, ‘I’m not going to go with everyone else and go Democrat. I want to go Republican because I believe in this person, not because I’m Republican,’” Cruz said, referring to the fact that the Council seat, which represents parts of Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Howard Beach and the western portion of the Rockaways, is currently held by Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), the only non-Democrat councilmember in Queens.

“I’m against this party system because of all the nonsense and not looking for what we need,” Cruz said.

Asked what the major policy planks he will be campaigning on to earn the support of Republican primary voters are, Cruz responded, “I think it’s the little details that we really need to focus on.”

He then described his idea to stop companies from putting a lien on someone’s house without telling the person and his concern about the MTA’s liability insurance system.

Asked how he would influence a state-run agency as a city official, Cruz said that Gov. Cuomo’s recent string of controversies could provide an opportunity for the city to wrest control of the MTA.

All three Republican candidates in the race sustained objections to their list of petition signatures, according to a public spreadsheet of all Council races compiled by Democratic District Leader Émilia Decaudin. It remains to be seen what the impact the objections — a common procedural step — will have.

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