The race for Queens Borough President


| lpenner@queenscourier.com |

You need a score card to keep track of all the Democrats running to replace Queens Borough President Helen Marshall when she retires at the end of 2013 due to term limits.  Rosedale resident Everly Brown is a developer for the 501 Manhattan Corporation has joined this ever growing list which also includes State Senators Tony Avella and Jose Peralta, former NYC Councilmember Melinda Katz, current NYC Councilmembers Leroy Comrie, Peter Vallone, Jr. and Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik. You can bet the ranch just prior to the Queens County Democratic Party Executive Committee meeting in June 2013 when the official organization candidate is crowned by Congressmember and Queens County Democratic Party Chairperson Joseph Crowley, this crowded field will disappear. All of these prospective Queens Borough President wannabe’s are loyal members in good standing. They will take the “hint” from Crowley when told whom he wants to run. All the others will fold their tents to move on elsewhere. None will want to take on the organizations official choice for Queens Borough President or any other public office within a Democratic Party primary.

Interesting that there is no mention of any potential Republican candidate for Queens Borough President in 2013. Will either former GOP NYC Councilmembers Mike Abel, Anthony Stabile, Tom Olgibene, Anthony Cuomo or Dennis Gallagher, State Assemblymember Doug Prescott, State Senators Frank Padavan and Serf Maltese or Congressmember Bob Turner entertain a political comeback? Don’t bet on it for any of them. With the exception of Turner, all of their time in the sun has come and gone. They collectively remain an asterisk in the political shadows and history of yesteryear.

The absence of a real GOP Borough President candidate who is more than just a placeholder on the ballot could influence the political survival for the last Queens Republican elected official – NYC Councilmember Eric Ulrich.  With his looming indictment, NYC Councilmember Dan Halloran is toast! Any local GOP NYC Council candidate in 2013 — will need strong political coattails provided by real running mates with both name recognition and funding whose names will appear above them on the ballot for Mayor, City Comptroller, Public Advocate and Queens Borough President. There are no serious GOP candidates to date who have declared and started raising money for any of these four offices with the one lone exception of Mayor which is critical if they are to be taken seriously in 2013.

Ironically, there are five potential Republican candidates for Mayor including MTA boss Joe Lhota, businessman John Catsimatidis, nonprofit Executive Director George McDonald, former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion and Reverand A.J. Bernard. Only billionaire supermarket owner Casimatidis has the money to mount a real race. Ditto for Lhota who can tap into the business community and former Mayor Guiliani’s fundraising machine.

As of November 2012, there are 675,568 Democrats, 125,404 Republicans, 201,857 Blanks (no declared party affiliation), 26,220 Independence, 5,727 Conservative, 3,023 Working Family and 1,1311 Green active registered voters in Queens. Any Republican running for Queens Borough President in 2013 would need both name recognition and a million dollars. This is necessary to level the playing field against whomever the Democrats nominate. No wonder the last Republican Queens Borough President was James A. Lundy who served from 1952-1957. Ditto for Nat Hentel who served as the last GOP District Attorney in 1970.

Without any serious GOP citywide candidates for Mayor, City Comptroller and Public Advocate with the respective individual resources to spend the millions of dollars necessary to mount real campaigns, Ulrich will have an even steeper road to climb. The ongoing Queens County GOP civil war between two factions fighting for control of what is a dead political carcass will divide their meager resources.  Their respective Democratic Party opponents start off with overwhelming numbers of registered Democrats. Worse, the Queens Democratic Party machine in 2013 may also face no real GOP challenges for Borough President, District Attorney and other local Council races. This could leave them free to send in hundreds of club house volunteers and provide whatever financial assistance is necessary to insure victory for their respective candidates in the last remaining districts being seriously contested by Republicans. Democrats will be assisted by friendly labor unions offering their own endorsements, volunteers, mailings, phone banks and financial support. Queens County Congressmember and Democratic Party boss Joseph Crowley will want to win these two additional seats. They would assist him to place one of his own as the next incoming NYC Council Speaker. Ulrich could be the last remaining GOP Queens public official if he can survive the 2013 General Election.