Tag Archives: Queens County Republican Party

Lhota gets quiet backing from Queens GOP


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Joe Lhota has the support of the Queens County Republican Party, but the mayoral candidate may not have wanted a public endorsement announcement to be made.

According to a source, reported Crain’s New York Business, Lhota didn’t hold an endorsement press conference and asked the party not to issue a press release on the backing because his “camp did not want to highlight dissension in the Queens Republican Party and in other Republican circles by publicizing the endorsement.”

Queens GOP first vice chairman James McClelland said it was a question of “exactly how to roll out the endorsement” because Lhota’s schedule was so tight and “how the press release should be worded.”

The party sent The Courier the following statement from Chairman Phil Ragusa endorsing Lhota for mayor, which according to McClelland, was issued on Tuesday, October 22.

“As the Chairman of the Queens Republican Party, I am proud to announce our endorsement of Joe Lhota for Mayor. Joe is the only candidate who will preserve the gains we have seen over the last 20 years in safety, the economy and quality of life for all New Yorkers.  People should never forget what life was like throughout this city prior to 1994 when criminals held neighborhoods hostage and people were scared to leave their homes. We need Joe Lhota to lead this city through the challenging economic times ahead and we need a chief executive who is willing to make the difficult decisions to ensure New York remains the greatest city in the world. Queens Republicans will do whatever it takes to help Joe Lhota win this race to keep New York City the shining city it has become.”

Lhota spokesperson Jessica Proud also said the campaign “didn’t have time to do a press conference.” Proud said she did not know anything about the press release.

“We are happy to have the support of Queens Republicans,” she said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Former Councilmember Sal Albanese kicks off mayoral campaign


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Albanese for Mayor 2013

Former Councilmember Sal Albanese, who recently announced he’s running for mayor as an independent Democrat, has high hopes for improving public safety and the city’s education system.

Albanese, who represented mostly Bay Ridge for 14 years, said he was building a campaign based on voter needs and not special interest groups.

“We’re building a grass-roots campaign around the city,” Albanese, 63, told The Courier. “I want to get to City Hall with a broad base of support.”

Albanese spent 11 years as a teacher and said he would partner with education colleges throughout the city and strengthen the student-teacher program if elected mayor.

Albanese said he would hire 3,800 new police .officers for patrols in the outer boroughs where crime might be ignored or under-reported. “If you have nobody on patrol…these things can drive people out of neighborhoods,” he said.

For Queens, Albanese said he would focus on ensuring continued development is done properly, and the borough recovers and rebuilds after Sandy.

All options and effects should be explored before officially jumping on a project such as the proposed Major League Soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. “[It] could really be a positive thing,” he said. “But we have to balance that with the parkland.”

Despite a lengthy term on the council, Albanese has not been in public office for about 15 years and is running in a primary against many Democratic incumbents. Some opponents include: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller Bill Thompson.

On the Republican front:

Less than a week after his announcement, and after a long-expected endorsement, Republican Mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis picked up the backing of the Queens GOP on Friday, February 1.

“John Catsimatidis has the right experience as an independent businessman to lead New York and solve our city’s problems with common sense,” said party chair Phil Ragusa in a statement. The grocery store magnet is one of only a handful of candidates whose career hasn’t been in public service. Upon his endorsement, Catsimatidis noted his father worked as a bus boy at Riccardo’s in Astoria.

“I am very pleased to accept the Queens County Republican Party’s official endorsement,” Catsimatidis said. “My father who came over from the old country when I was just six months of age worked hard for our family and taught me the value of hard work and because he worked hard we never knew we were poor.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

More hats in the ring for 25th Assembly District


| mchan@queenscourier.com

The 25th Assembly District race — which until recently only had two democratic contenders — may now have a Republican primary, as two other hopefuls have thrown their hat into the ring.

Abe Fuchs, of Kew Garden Hills, decided after much debate to run for office with hopes to restore quality education. The retired postal worker, who also spent three years in the seminary, said he did not start up an exploratory committee to make his choice, but instead “searched his heart” for the answer.

“I’m seeking office because I want to make a difference. I think I have a lot to offer,” Fuchs, 56, said.

Fuchs will formally announce his candidacy this Thursday, and while he will still have to garner enough petitions to make it on to the ballot, he will have to do so without the support of the Queens County Republican Party and face a primary with the County’s pick, William Garifal Jr.

“We usually pick the candidate that has the best chance of winning, and I believe that [William] does,” said Phil Ragusa, chair of the Queens County Republican Party. “He has community ties, and he’s worked several campaigns. You have to know what you’re doing when you’re running. I believe he was the best suited to run in the 25th District.”

Garifal, a 42-year-old Internet marketer from Flushing, was a volunteer for Councilmember Dan Halloran’s campaign for City Council and boasts of being the assistant scoutmaster for his 14-year-old twin boys’ Boy Scout troop.

“I’m looking forward to being a good example for my sons. They’ve heard me enough around the house, and now maybe I’ll get a chance to do some good,” Garifal said.

While he has not yet publicly announced his run, Garifal said he’s a serious candidate looking to be effective in the Assembly by helping lower taxes and creating “a more favorable environment for businesses.”

“In turn, I hope those businesses will create the quality jobs that we’ve lost. I think it’s a win-win for businesses and for employees if we can keep the kinds of businesses here that can create those quality jobs,” Garifal said.

The winner of the September 13 Republican primary will either take on Jerry Iannece, the Queens County Democratic Committee’s pick, or Nily Rozic, the former chief of staff to Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh — given all four candidates gather a sufficient number of petitions by the July 12 deadline.

“The opportunity to serve your community in government is one of the highest callings there is,” Rozic said during her June 5 campaign kickoff. “Queens is facing difficult times, but I know I have the energy and ideas to meet the challenge.”

Candidates eye Meng’s Assembly seat


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Several hopefuls in two buzzing primaries have their eyes set on the hotly-contested and potentially open State Assembly seat in the brewing District 40 race.

The seat is currently held by Assemblymember Grace Meng, who is making a run for Congress in the 6th District. While Meng’s spokesperson did not directly address whether or not she would seek re-election if her campaign falls short of Capitol Hill, the race to take her place is heating up.

GOP runner Phil Gim got the backing of the Queens County Republican Party and focused his campaign around restoring power — and more jobs — to voters during his June 4 campaign kickoff. The candidate, who was born in China, said small businesses were the engines of job creation and said he has plans to make the state friendlier to mom and pop shops.

“This just can’t be about Wall Street anymore,” said Gim, 60, of Whitestone. “This is about Main Street, Francis Lewis Boulevard, Parsons Boulevard and Northern Boulevard.”

Gim, a former postal worker and census supervisor, is a father of four and resident of Queens since 1986. He will face off with Flushing community activist Sunny Hahn during the September 13 primary.

Hahn, who announced her candidacy on May 31, centered her first run for office on her vision for putting Flushing on the map as the “greatest destination in New York City in the 21st century” and uniting both immigrant and American-born communities.

“We really have to transcend and have to think collectively as Americans,” said Hahn, 60, a retired city human rights specialist. “Don’t give up. If you give up, America will be in trouble. Start dreaming again.”

Hahn, a Korean native, hopes to gain the endorsements of the Independent and Conservative Party but said she would plow forward on the campaign trail regardless.

Candidate Ron Kim will be running on the Democratic ticket with endorsements from the Queens County Democratic Organization and City Comptroller John Liu.

The South Korean-born community activist began his career in public service as an aide to then-Assemblymember Mark Weprin before moving on to work for the city’s Department of Buildings and the Department of Small Business Services. He served as vice president of the Korean American Association of Greater New York and currently advocates on behalf of children with special needs and small businesses.

“Public service is about protecting the most vulnerable among us while ensuring that opportunity exists for all our citizens,” said Kim, a Flushing resident. “As an immigrant and the son of a Vietnam veteran, I have seen just how much is possible in this great country.”

Democratic hopefuls Ethel Chen, Myungsuk Lee and Yen Chou have reportedly decided to run for the seat as well, although they could not be reached for comment in time for press.

GOP pick backs out of race against Assemblymember Ed Braunstein


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Ralph Cefalo

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.

Northeast Queens political races heat up


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Endorsements are rolling in for candidates making a run for district seats in northeast Queens.

The Queens County Republican Party unanimously endorsed Joseph Concannon for State Senate in the 11th District, where the Republican and retired city police officer from Bellerose will challenge incumbent State Senator Tony Avella for the seat.

In a statement, GOP Chair Phil Ragusa attacked Avella, saying the democrat “by every benchmark has simply failed the community” and “has not lived up to his campaign promises.”

GOP Law Chair Vince Tabone touted Concannon as a “brass tacks kind of guy with the common sense and the intelligence to fight for our community and make a difference in Albany.”

The Queens County Republican Party also endorsed civic leader Ralph Cefalo to run in the 26th Assembly District race, pitting the challenger against Assemblymember Ed Braunstein. According to the GOP, Cefalo — a Malba resident — has a 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.

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky also recently picked up support from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3, the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, Communications Workers of America District 1 and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500. Earlier this month, the incumbent since 1999 gained the endorsement of U.S. Senator Charles Schumer for her try at re-election in the newly-formed Asian-American majority 16th District.

Stavisky will face a Democratic primary battle against John Messer, an attorney from Oakland Gardens. The pair battled it out in a primary two years ago before Stavisky beat him out for the seat. If she prevails once more, she will then go up against Republican runner Jung Dong “J.D.” Kim — a Korean-American attorney from Flushing who is also the Queens County Republican Party’s pick.