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.”