Ulrich announces concession morning after election


| tcullen@queenscourier.com |

THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison
THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison

It’s over: State Senator Joseph Addabbo has won his third term in Albany.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich said on election night he would not concede to defeat just yet, despite a victory announcement from the incumbent Addabbo.

The next morning, however, Ulrich announced via Twitter that he had called Addabbo and congratulated him on the victory.

With all precincts in the massive district reporting, Addabbo led with 57 percent – roughly 38,011 ballots, according to news sources. This is nearly 10,000 more than Ulrich. Tentative numbers from the Board of Elections confirmed Addabbo had nearly that number.

An Ulrich spokesperson said in a text that the campaign’s internal numbers do not match the numbers used by news services and would not comment further as of 2 a.m.

Although their gatherings were separated by just blocks, the two gave contrasting views of the election’s turnout thus far.

“We are not conceding this race at this time because the difference between me and my opponent is just a few percentage points and there are literally thousands – I don’t have a concrete number – but thousands and thousands of paper ballots still out there,” Ulrich said.

Addabbo, however, was confident in his victory and thanked a packed room for their support.

“We believed in the fact that it wasn’t about the money, it’s not about the billboards, it’s not about the commercials, it’s not about the mailers,” he said. “It’s about a positive message and a lot of heart.”

Addabbo was referring mainly to the outpouring of money into the Ulrich for Senate war chest – floating around $1 million.

“We were outspent in 2008, we won. We were outspent in 2010, we won. And guess what, we were out spent in 2012 and we won this one,” Addabbo said.

There were thousands of paper ballots that still needed to be counted, and Ulrich said he’s curious how many of those were displaced Rockaway voters who still cast ballots within the district.

The brunt of confused results, Ulrich said, fell upon the Board of Elections (BOE), which he alleged had “run down the clock” on deciding where voters on the peninsula could vote.

“Widespread problems at the polls today,” he said. “The incompetence of the Board of Elections, we know that already. How inaccessible they made it for people in these areas where these people lost everything to vote.”

Ulrich, who, along with Addabbo, suspended his campaign to focus on relief efforts in his district following Superstorm Sandy, said, should he wake up tomorrow morning and his opponent have a wide margin, he’d be the first person to call and congratulate him.

He said the campaign did not plan on that just yet, waiting “until we know how many ballots are still out there and outstanding, I think it’s premature that we throw in the towel.”

But, as of now, the race is still narrow, Ulrich said.

As the hours crept further into the night, the margin between the two narrowed with Addabbo still retaining a lead over his opponent.

There is still the possibility of a recount, something Ulrich said he’ll leave to his campaign people as he returns to helping those devastated by the disastrous storm.

Addabbo likewise told his supporters that the next step was returning to revamping and helping to rebuild the region – nearly all of which is a part of the new Senate District 15. The potential of a recount or a lawsuit against the results was something that Addabbo said wouldn’t break his focus on getting the district back together.

“No, I’m not worried,” he said. “You just want to make sure it’s official and we move on. I have a lot of work to do. We can be mired in a court proceeding, but the bottom line, we have work to do. Any talk about what the storm did to the election, I have a job tomorrow.”

The last week has been busy for Ulrich: Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways were struck by Sandy on Monday, October 29; his wife, Yadira, gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Lily, on Halloween; and he faced the election last night. He admitted upon voting earlier on Election Day that the preceding week had been chaotic, but had geared his focus least on the election.

- With Additionally Reporting by Billy Rennison