Tag Archives: 15th Senate District

Ulrich announces concession morning after election


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

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

 

Addabbo, Ulrich suspend campaigns as they aid in Sandy recovery


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

ulrich addabbo

In a week expected to be packed with last-minute campaigning, the candidates for the Senate District 15 have put it to the wayside as their respective districts still recover from damages caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Incumbent State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Councilmember Eric Ulrich, locked in one of the tightest races in the borough, have both said campaign operations are taking a break as they aid in assessment and recovery efforts in their areas.

Addabbo said in a statement that he was focusing on recovery and relief efforts for the district.

“As of now my main priority and that of my campaign staff is to focus on assisting my district in the clean up and aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, as many areas of my district were hit incredibly hard by the storm,” he said. “The safety and well-being of my constituents are the most important to me, and I will not focus my attention elsewhere until the recovery is well on its way.”

Ulrich for Senate spokesperson Jessica Proud said the councilmember had suspended his campaign to deal with the devastation from the hurricane.

The campaign’s headquarters on Cross Bay Boulevard appeared yesterday to have been flooded from water that poured on to the wide thoroughfare. Chairs and tables were knocked over with campaign literature scattered all over the floor.

The Rockaways were projected to be a decisive factor in the election. Ulrich has represented a bulk of the peninsula since 2009; Addabbo represented virtually the same area, in the City Council, from 2001 to 2008.

Schumer endorses Addabbo for re-election


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

With only 19 days until the general election and just hours before back-to-back debates, Senator Charles Schumer endorsed State Senator Joseph Addabbo for his third term in Albany as he faces what’s been referred to as the most contested race in Queens.

“The same sweet smile that his father had, he has,” Schumer said at the endorsement, on Thursday, October 18 in front of the Queens Community Center in Forest Hills. “Because he really does care — it just comes from the heart.”

Schumer drew upon Addabbo’s record of working for his district on topics ranging from tough laws on criminals, gun control and education.

“Public safety has always been a hallmark of what Joe believes in,” Schumer said. “Joe has pushed hard for the schools in this district, and he, almost single-handedly, was able to push to get another $292 million to go to our city schools. So he’s in touch with the people here.”

New parts of Forest Hills will be incorporated into the reshaped District 15. Schumer was joined by some of Addabbo’s colleagues, including Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, who will lose parts of Forest Hills in her District 16 if she’s re-elected in her own race. Stavisky said her colleague would do an even better job than she at representing this neighborhood.

“Joe Addabbo understands, he gets it,” he said. “I gave up good chunks of my district to Joe Addabbo, and I am confident that he will do an even better job than I did.”

Others, however, spoke on opponent Councilmember Eric Ulrich’s campaign and alleged his platform was unproductive regarding safety and the middle class.

“He doesn’t think our gun laws need changing,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris. “On all these issues, he stands against the community while Joe stands with it.”

Ulrich has been trying to make ground in Forest Hills, which has a strong Bukharan Jewish presence. Ulrich began campaigning in the neighborhood over the summer as he ran in a rare Republican primary against Forest Hills resident Juan Reyes.

Addabbo said he’s been proud to put people first and wanted to keep the campaign and voters positive in the next two weeks.

“It’s about a focus of the people,” he said. “We made sure this campaign stayed positive. The focus of my campaign has always been about people. The focus of my campaign, and the focus for my professional life, has always put people first; people before politics. It’s something that I was taught many years ago and it’s something that I follow through today.”

This was the second major endorsement for Addabbo in less than two weeks. Governor Andrew Cuomo endorsed him at the outset of the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan, which resulted in a major reaction from the media — citing a turn from what some alleged was the governor’s friendliness with the Republican-led Senate.

Mailers muddle 15th Senate District election


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Twitter/@AlexBlenkinsopp

Both Senate District 15 candidates are condemning a string of outside mailers negatively attacking the other.

Online news site Capital New York reported earlier this month that a mailer alleged State Senator Joseph Addabbo was a puppet of billionaire George Soros, a supporter of progressive and liberal causes. The mailer was put out by the Common Sense Common Principles, an Alexandria, Virginia-based political action committee that supports Republican candidates, and had not been endorsed by his opponent, Councilmember Eric Ulrich.

Similarly, an anti-Ulrich mailer of uncertain origin stated that

his “extremist agenda” would affect women’s rights. The mailer had not been endorsed by Addabbo.

Jessica Proud, Ulrich for Senate spokesperson, said the campaign does not support any negative or derogatory attacks on a candidate. Rather, campaign officials believe mailers focused on how the Addabbo and Ulrich differ should be enough to inform voters, she said.

“We disavow a negative tone of the campaign, and we have chosen from day one to run an above the board campaign,” she said. “Anything coming out of our campaign has been focused on the [issues]. And we believe that is enough for voters to make an informed choice to make a decision about each candidate.”

Proud added that the campaign cannot control any independent mailers that have been sent out. She noted that some mailers touting Addabbo’s record did not have any information about its sender, or who approved it.

Likewise, Addabbo’s rep Jennifer Galvin said any mailers sent out by the campaign have been focused on the issues, such as gun control and small businesses. Galvin said Addabbo does not support negative campaigning, in any form, and has been focused on the concerns of the district.

“The senator is really against negative campaigning,” she said.

Most of the negative content, on both sides, have been sent out by political action committees that are outside either campaign’s control.

A recently released Siena College poll shows that Addabbo holds a slight lead over Ulrich with less than a month until the general election.

The mailers might not have that much of an effect on potential voters, as some just find them to muddle the electoral process.

Alexander Blenkinsopp, a district resident and active community member, said he’s gotten a number of these mailers attacking both sides. Blenkinsopp, much like both candidates, said these sorts of attacks were unnecessary and tarnished the reputation of both Addabbo and Ulrich.

“These mailers create an unnecessarily negative tone in the state senate race,” he said. “It’s very unfortunate because we have two fine public servants running against each other. There is absolutely no need for mud-slinging. Many people have a negative impression of politics, and when their mailboxes are getting stuffed with this junk, it’s not hard to see why. It’s really too bad.”

Blenkinsopp said these mailers divert from the issues concerning the district in the tightly-contested race.

“A lot of these mailings are just silly,” he said. “They don’t focus on issues that are actually important to our community. And some of them include graphics and themes recycled from two years ago. It feels like outside groups are trying to take this election out of the hands of the voters in this district.”

Cuomo endorses Addabbo in 15th Senate District race


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of State Senator Joe Addabbo

During the primary race for Senate District 15 this summer, now-Republican nominee and Councilmember Eric Ulrich picked up a major endorsement from former Governor George Pataki.

This fall, State Senator Joseph Addabbo, running for his third term, has seen Ulrich’s bet and raised him an incumbent.

Governor Andrew Cuomo endorsed Addabbo on Monday, October 8 at the outset of the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan.

In his endorsement, Cuomo noted that Addabbo, and the legislature, had been productive in voting on tough issues, and in the end, he said, made the correct decision when voting.

“Now, a number of elected officials are in difficult elections, I believe, in part, because of votes they took,” Cuomo said.

The first-term governor added that Addabbo had “political courage” to stand up for issues and the people he represented.

“And I want his constituents to know today that he is a man of conscience, he is a man of integrity, he is a man of courage, and that’s what you want in an elected official — especially in Albany,” he said.

Addabbo said of the endorsement that he looked forward to continuing to work with Cuomo in Albany for another two years and work toward the number of problems facing the state.

“I look forward to continue working with Governor Cuomo to improve educational opportunities, create jobs, fight for stronger gun control, and once again be proud of our state government,” Addabbo said.

The candidates are set for several debates with less than a month until voters — from Maspeth all the way to Rockaway — cast their ballot on November 6 to see if Addabbo goes back to Albany in December, or if Ulrich will be taking the Taconic to work.

Addabbo holds slight lead over Ulrich in 15th Senate District race


| brennison@queenscourier.com

ulrich addabbo

Four weeks before voters head to the polls, the race for the hotly-contested 15th Senate District in Queens is a virtual tie.

Incumbent State Senator Joe Addabbo is leading challenger Councilmember Eric Ulrich 45-43, according to a new Siena College poll. Twelve percent of voters remain undecided.

The difference between the candidates is well within the poll’s margin of error, 4.7 percentage points.

Addabbo sustains a five point lead in his current district, but in the district’s new areas, Ulrich has jumped out to a five point advantage. The district was redrawn during this year’s round of redistricting.

Despite a large Democratic advantage in voters — 54 percent to 21 percent — the district leans moderate. President Barack Obama holds just a three point lead over Mitt Romney in the district.

“There’s no question that the Democrats are going to have their hands full in trying to hold on to this seat,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg.

Between September 6-18, Senate Republicans gave Ulrich nearly $330,000 in an effort to protect its Senate majority in the state.

Ulrich’s campaign said the poll was proof the incumbent’s campaign was a “fast-sinking ship.”

“For a career politician to perform so poorly proves that the more voters find out about his dismal record of failing small businesses and raising taxes over 100 times, the less likely it is he will be re-elected this November,” said Jessica Proud, a spokesperson for the campaign.

Addabbo, meanwhile, is confidant momentum is on his side.

“Over the next four weeks Senator Addabbo’s record of results and leadership will come into clear focus for all the voters in Senate District 15, and we will win this campaign,” said Jennifer Galvin, spokesperson for the Addabbo campaign.

Galvin added that she was not surprised by the poll numbers. “Senator Addabbo’s district was, after all, gerrymandered by the Senate Republicans, who have since spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on amateurish, misleading negative mailers against Senator Addabbo.”

The number one issue in the district according to voters is job creation; that is followed by education, health care and property taxes. Among likely voters, Addabbo leads Ulrich on job creation, education and health care; Ulrich leads Addabbo on property taxes.

“While Addabbo is more known than Ulrich to voters, Ulrich has the better favorability rating… In other words, this figures to be a barn burner straight through to Election Day,” said Steven Greenberg.

Ulrich’s favorability rating was 42 percent with Addabbo at 40 percent.

The district includes parts of the Rockaways, Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Forest Hills, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth.

Four hundred twenty eight likely voters were included in the poll conducted between October 1-4.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6.

 

Endorsements, cash flow in 15th District Senate race


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

ulrich addabbo

Things are heating up in one of the most contentious state races in Queens this fall.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich topped the list of those required to file a 10 Day Post Primary Campaign Disclosure Report with a war chest that boasted six-figures.

The first time state senate candidate, running in District 15, took in nearly $400,000 during September, according to the report.

The New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee wired in $329,200 between September 6 and September 18 to Ulrich’s campaign against incumbent State Senator Joseph Addabbo. Individual contributions to his campaign, however, were a stark contrast: $25,970.

Ulrich for Senate, during the filing period, shelled out $421,023 that mostly went to wages, advertising and campaign literature.

In total, Ulrich for Senate has raised — through individual, corporate and other donations — $871,054 since the beginning of 2012, according to Board of Elections (BOE) data.

Ulrich for Senate spokesperson Jessica Proud said the campaign was excited about the amount of money it has brought in. Proud said the range of donors gave the campaign optimism with just weeks to go until the election.

“We’re thrilled with how the fundraising’s been going. It’s a broad range from individuals that are very excited about Eric’s candidacy,” she said. “This show’s his strength going into the election.”

Juan Reyes, who lost to Ulrich in the district’s Republican primary, does not have a report filed on the BOE’s website.

Addabbo, whose campaign will soon file the 32-day pre-primary report, said that while his campaign is raising money and getting support, he is more focused on the issues at hand and reaching out to constituents.

“When the time comes when I have to get out there and talk to people, that’s what I do,” he said. “We’re going to raise enough money to run a successful, positive campaign. [Voters] want to know your vision, what you can do for them and how you can address their concerns.”

The Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFA) on Tuesday, October 2 endorsed Urlich, who picked up a slew of endorsements during primary season.

President Stephen Cassidy said the UFA was proud to endorse Ulrich, and said the first-term councilmember would fight for the middle class and firefighters.

“His record of fighting for the middle class and working to make sure our firefighters have the resources to keep New York City safe is exactly what we need in the senate,” Cassidy said.

The day before, the Tenants Political Action Campaign (Tenants PAC) endorsed Addabbo based on his past actions to fight for tenants’ rights and affordable housing.

Michael Mckee, treasurer of the Tenants PAC, noted Tenants PAC endorsed Addabbo in 2008 and 2010, and said Addabbo’s re-election meant he would continue fighting for tenants and their rights.

A week earlier, the United Federation of Teachers endorsed the three-term incumbent based on his record of securing and allotting funds to education.

UFT throws its backing behind Addabbo in SD15


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

Citing his record in both the city council and Albany, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and a number of elected officials rallied for State Senator Joseph Addabbo as the incumbent seeks re-election in November.

“We’ve had a very good relationship with Joe because of the work that he has done on the behalf of the community,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew, outside of P.S. 62 The Joseph P. Addabbo School, named for Addabbo’s late father and long-time congressmember. “When he was in city council [he was] always making sure that the schools had a voice through his district and his leadership.”

This year was the first year in the last four that the school system had an increase in funding, said Mulgrew — who credited the increase to Addabbo and others in the senate.

Addabbo said moving forward in the senate, he planned to combine his experience as a father of children in the public school system with his experience in office dealing with a weak city budget in 2002, and a weak state budget in 2009.

“Now that I’m a father, a father of two in the public school system, I totally look at schools in a different way,” Addabbo said, adding he wanted to use “that experience as we go forward to make sure our students have the best technology available, the best classroom size available and the best teacher available.”

State senators and assemblymembers from throughout Queens, as well as assembly candidate Nily Rozic, spoke on Addabbo’s record of saving and increasing funding for schools in both the state and the city.

Assemblymember Mike Miller said he saw Addabbo as a mentor in the state legislature and highlighted Addabbo’s record of supporting funding and bills to better education.

“I’m here today to lend my support to my colleague and my friend Senator Addabbo,” Miller said. “He’s a leader on many of the issues that we all support; he’s been a leader of our community.”

Candidates start slinging mud in 15th Senate District


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Though the 15th Senate District Republican Primary is still two months away, there has already been heavy campaigning — and a lot of mudslinging.

A mailer sent out by the Juan Reyes campaign last month claimed that incumbent councilmember and State Senate hopeful Eric Ulrich was the choice of Republican party insiders.

“If the Albany political bosses had their way, their hand-picked puppet would already be on his way to the Senate chamber to rubber stamp the backroom deals they cut months ago,” the mailer read.

An official in the Reyes campaign said the race was unfair because of perks Ulrich had been receiving, especially with promoting his campaign. The Reyes official said the State Senate Republicans Campaign Committee had been sending out mailers for the Ulrich campaign by use of the state Republican Party’s non-profit mailing status. This practice, the official said, makes this an unbalanced race.

A representative for the committee confirmed it had endorsed Ulrich for the Republican primary, and that it was legal for them to use the party’s non-profit postal status to send out mailers for his campaign.

The Reyes campaign rep went on to say that funds raised by the committee had originally been established to help Republicans defeat Democrats, not other Republicans. He added that these mailers were probably sent out with little-to-no consultation from the local community.

“They’ve done probably close to half a dozen without any kind of input of local Republicans,” he said.

Bill O’Reilly, a spokesperson for the Ulrich campaign, dispelled the accusations in the mailer, and referred back to an earlier claim by Reyes that his campaign offices had been vandalized by Ulrich endorsers.

“That mailing is utterly ridiculous — almost as bizarre as Mr. Reyes’ statement about his campaign office being ransacked. Queens voters are smart and will not fall for Machiavellian tactics like that,” he said in an email. “Councilmember Ulrich is the clear reform candidate in this race. It’s why he has garnered so much local support.”

On July 9, Friends of Juan Reyes sent a news release questioning Ulrich’s association with John Haggerty, a former Bloomberg campaign runner who was convicted of felony charges in stealing about $750,000 from the camp, citing several recent stories regarding the councilmember’s association with Haggerty. One article attached to the release said Haggerty had submitted petition signatures for Ulrich to the Board of Elections. O’Reilly responded to the release saying, “The fact is, that a campaign volunteer named Mike Michel submitted the councilmember’s petitions at the Board of Elections. Mr. Reyes needs to get his facts straight — and to take a few days off to gather his wits.”