GOP pick backs out of race against Assemblymember Ed Braunstein

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Ralph Cefalo was endorsed by the Queens GOP to seek election in the 26th Assembly District, but the civic leader chose not to enter the race.
Ralph Cefalo was endorsed by the Queens GOP to seek election in the 26th Assembly District, but the civic leader chose not to enter the race.

A former GOP hopeful declined to make a run against current Assemblymember Ed Braunstein, despite being backed by the Queens County Republican Party.

Malba resident Ralph Cefalo was endorsed by the County to seek election in the 26th Assembly District, but the civic leader ultimately chose not to enter the race after citing personal matters, according to Phil Ragusa, chair of the Queens County Republican Party.

“We approached him and he seemed like he wanted to do it, but he spoke with his family and he just wasn’t ready to do it,” Ragusa said.

The GOP pushed to pit Cefalo against Braunstein, saying his 35-year record of community service — including a long tenure leading the Whitestone Volunteer Ambulance and volunteering with the Order of the Sons of Italy — would make him a good challenger.

According to reports, Cefalo turned down the run because recently-redrawn district lines would push him out of the district come next January. He also said the assembly seat is not one he initially sought to run for and felt it was too late to begin campaigning, reports said.

Attempts to reach Cefalo went unreturned as of press time.

No other candidates have announced their intent to run against Braunstein. However, republican Tim Furey is reportedly eyeing the seat.