Tag Archives: 15th State Senate district

War chests, war of words increase as primary approaches


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

As primary campaigns for the 15th State Senate District came to a close, campaign funds and mudslinging came to a head.

Although Councilmember Eric Ulrich outraised opponent Juan Reyes by hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Reyes camp spent $9,000 more to sway voters before polls open, according to 11-day Pre Primary disclosure reports released by the Board of Elections.

At the opening of the period, which began on August 13, Ulrich’s war chest boasted $352,758 — well above the Reyes balance of $22,117. During this time, while raining $11,000, the Reyes camp spent more than $26,000; Ulrich for Senate, which raised $1,800, spent $17,218.

During the campaign, Ulrich received a plethora of endorsements, and with that, campaign donations. In the July periodic report filed by Ulrich for State Senate, the New York State Republican committee wired $250,000 into the campaign’s account.

The latest report showed a high number of Friends of Juan Reyes’ transactions went toward campaign mailing material.

A string of mailers sent by the campaign in the week leading up to the primary took potshots at the councilmember, sparking upset and allegations of insensitivity from Ulrich’s campaign.

One particular mailer included a photo of Ulrich’s head superimposed on the body of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev — who led the USSR for nearly 20 years — adorned with several medals.

“Comrades! The glorious party leadership has already chosen Comrade Ulrich as your new senator,” the mailer reads. “Do as you are told and obey them.”

Ulrich spokesperson Jessica Proud noted the mailer could be offensive to the Eastern European demographic that lives in the reshaped 15th Senate District.

“This senate district is home to many Eastern Europeans who fled Soviet oppression for freedom here in the United States,” she said. “For [Reyes] to use images of that horrible period is deplorable.”

But if anyone were to understand the mailer, it would be the Eastern European demographic that left the former Soviet Union, said Gerry O’Brien, who runs the Reyes campaign. “They’re the kind of people who understands this best — they get it,” he said.

The same mailer, directed at different opponents, had been sent out in the past, Proud noted. She referred to one mailer against former state senate candidate Stephen B. Kaufman in a 2004 GOP primary in the Bronx, a Democratic assemblymember who was backed by the state Republican party.

The photo is nearly the same, although with Kaufman’s head superimposed on Brezhnev’s body, and uses the exact same wording — with the exception of “Comrade Kaufman.”

Reyes campaign mailer depicts opponent as Soviet leader


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

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A Stalinist era-themed mailer sent out by the Juan Reyes campaign last week depicts his opponent, Councilmember Eric Ulrich, as a Soviet leader and alleges the State Senate hopeful has been picked by the New York Republican party to take the senate seat.

“Comrades! The glorious party leadership has already chosen Comrade Ulrich as your new senator,” the mailer reads. “Do as you are told and obey them.”

Next to the text is a photo of Ulrich dressed like a decorated leader of the Soviet government. Reyes Campaign leader Gerry O’Brien said the torso in the photo was taken from a 1953 photo of Leonid Brezhnev, who led the Soviet Union for nearly 20 years.

The content of the mailer was intended to inform voters of what O’Brien called Albany “Boss-ism.”

The Ulrich campaign did not find the mailer to be in good taste, however.

Spokesperson Jessica Proud noted that the high population of Eastern European immigrants who live in the newly-drawn 15th State Senate District would find the mailer insulting.

“This senate district is home to many Eastern Europeans who fled Soviet oppression for freedom here in the United States,” she said. “For [Reyes] to use images of that horrible period is deplorable.”

O’Brien said he did not think Eastern Europeans would be insulted by the mailer; rather, they would understand it best.

“They’re the kind of people who understands this best – they get it,” he said.

Proud went on to note that the same Soviet-themed had been used for Republican candidates O’Brien has worked with in the past.

One instance was a 2004 mailer accusing then-Democratic Assemblymember Stephen B. Kaufman, who was running for state senate as a Republican, of also being a Republican party selection.

With the exception of the name, the text of the mailer’s cover is the exact same.

 

Patrolmen’s organization endorses Ulrich in State Senate primary


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

The time till voting is getting smaller, but the list of endorsements is growing.

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) endorsed on Wednesday, August 29 Councilmember Eric Ulrich for the 15th State Senate District.

“On behalf of the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Inc., I am pleased to announce our endorsement of your candidacy for State Senate in the 15th Senatorial District for the Republican Primary on September 13, 2012,” PBA President Patrick J. Lynch wrote in a letter to Ulrich. “Your proven track record and commitment to law enforcement are well recognized.”

This is the second civil servant organization to endorse Ulrich in his state primary run. Earlier in August, the Uniformed Firefighter Association threw their support to Ulrich in his race against fellow Republican Juan Reyes.

A Giuliani connection in the 15th Senate District


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

There are four Rudolphs in the Giuliani family, two of whom went into politics.

Rudolph W. L. “Rudy” Giuliani served as mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001, and has been nicknamed “America’s Mayor.”

Rudolph S. Giuliani, a second cousin, is cutting out a life in politics for himself, currently serving as chief-of-staff for Councilmember Eric Ulrich.

Ulrich is set to face off on September 13 in a primary against Juan Reyes, to see who will run as the Republican candidate for the 15th State Senate district. The twist: Reyes is a former staffer for Rudy Giuliani.

Reyes served several positions in Mayor Giuliani’s second administration. He was a deputy general counsel for the Department of Youth Services, then a counsel in the Office of the Mayor and lastly, a general counsel at the Board of Standards and Appeals.

The younger Giuliani, who is working for Ulrich, said that neither he, nor his mother, who worked in the mayor’s office, had ever even heard of Reyes until he announced his candidacy.

He went on to say that Reyes’ highlighting his tenure in the administration made it seem as if he had the support of former Mayor Giuliani, who now works in the private sector. He added that few people he knew had heard of Reyes before announcing he was running.

“It gives this illusion that he might have Rudy’s support,” he said.

At the same time, Reyes said he was unaware that his former boss’ cousin was on Ulrich’s staff.

Reyes said he idolized his former boss, and worked for Mayor Giuliani because he believed in him.

“I’m very loyal to him,” he said, “and I’m proud that I worked for him.”

The former counselor to the mayor said that Giuliani had always been supportive of him and that he wanted to run with the inspiration he received from his boss.

“He was always very supportive,” Reyes said. “I’m just better for what he did.”

Former Mayor Giuliani has currently stayed out of endorsing either candidate, both sides have said.

The race has already received notoriety for being a rare Republican primary, and has included harsh words on each side. A Reyes mailer alleged that Ulrich had been a handpicked selection by Republican party bosses. A few weeks later, the Ulrich campaign said Reyes had not even voted for Giuliani for re-election in 1997.