Tag Archives: Republican Party

Gianaris to face GOP newcomer


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

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The Queens GOP has turned to an independent in hopes of unseating Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) Chair Michael Gianaris in the 12th District.

The borough’s Republican Party announced its unanimous endorsement of Aurelio Antonio “Tony” Arcabascio for State Senate on May 5. Arcabascio, a senior level technology professional for 25 years, is also seeking the support of the Conservative Party.

“Tony has the independence and commitment to represent this northwestern Queens district with integrity and intelligence,” said GOP Chair Phil Ragusa. “Tony as a business executive and technology professional is a ‘can do’ problem solver who can help tackle the problems our community and state are facing.”

Ragusa said Arcabascio will aim to create jobs and lower the tax burden on middle class families, seniors and small business owners. The GOP chair also accused Gianaris of focusing on raising funds for himself and the DSCC rather than constituent services and improving the economy.

“As an independent I am really honored that the Republican Party will support me for State Senate and agrees with my focus on jumpstarting the economy, creating jobs, improving schools and healthcare and reforming government to make it more transparent and accountable,” said Arcabascio, who was raised in Astoria and Jackson Heights. “I agree with Chair Ragusa that Queens residents are tired of the relentless partisanship of my opponent and will be looking for practical solutions to the challenges we face.”

Gianaris responded to the accusations by defending his efforts to improve the 12th District since being elected to the State Senate in 2010.

“I am incredibly proud of the work I have done representing western Queens in the state legislature,” Gianaris said. “From shutting down the state’s biggest polluters to supporting our local schools to promoting local businesses that create much needed jobs, together we have made a big difference improving people’s lives. I look forward to once again putting my record before the voters this November and continuing to serve my neighborhood for another term.”

Congressmember Turner to run for Senate


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

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With his seat potentially KO’d, Congressmember Bob Turner has thrown his hat into a different ring.

Turner, whose district was recommended for elimination as part of Magistrate Roanne Mann’s proposed congressional maps, announced on March 13 that he plans to run for Senate. The congressmember will seek both the Republican and Conservative nominations to challenge Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

“I ran for the House six months ago as a private citizen fed up with what is happening in Washington,” said Turner. “I could not sit and watch career politicians sink my nation deeper into economic crisis. Brooklyn and Queens voters, of all political parties, graciously responded by sending me to Congress. It now appears that their district has been eliminated. There is serious work to be done to get this economy back on track, and I will not walk away from that work now. I will run for the Senate, and I will run to win.”

Despite being “good friends” with Turner, State Conservative Party Chair Michael Long believes Wendy Long, a lawyer and former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has already established herself as the favorite of the Republican Party.

“It is very sad that they cut up [Turner’s] district the way they did, but I think it is too late for him to enter this race. He came to the table too late,” he said. “[Wendy Long] has soaked up most of the energy and enthusiasm from the leaders up and down the state of New York, and it is going to be very hard at this late date for Bob to run.”

Long, who helped Turner with his congressional election last year, continued by saying he does not believe Republican leaders will switch their support to Turner. He also said Long is considered more capable of winning the seat.

“[Wendy] makes a stronger candidate against Gillibrand,” said Long. “She’s very knowledgeable and a very good debater. She was like a rock star at the fundraiser in Albany on March 12. While the title of congressmember would be helpful [to Turner], Wendy Long has the intellect and the background that fits this position.”

Queens GOP leadership in question


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

With the Queens political world already rattled, a storm has begun brewing on the horizon of the borough’s Republican Party.

Two organizational meetings were held on September 28, during which two different men claim to have been elected Queens County Republican GOP leader.

According to Robert Hornak, spokesperson for the Queens Republican Party, current chair Phil Ragusa was re-elected, receiving the support of every voter who attended his meeting – amounting to 62 percent of the total voting strength.
Former Councilmember Thomas Ognibene also claims he was elected at a meeting called by Bart Haggerty, who works for Councilmember Eric Ulrich, which was held on the same date and time as Ragusa’s gathering.

Hornak says that GOP Chair Ed Cox called to congratulate Ragusa on September 29, although Ognibene claims he received a similar phone call from Cox.

“Obviously this is an internal political dispute,” said Ognibene. “I believe I am the one that has been elected, and we submitted our certification of the election to the Board of Elections.”

The GOP leader is chosen by county committee members – elected officials in local parties – who frequently have state committee members hold proxy votes for them. In the September 13 Primary, the two party factions battled for a number of state committee member positions.

There were recent published reports that Ognibene would oppose Ragusa for GOP leader, although Hornak does not believe the challenge to be a legitimate one.

“We knew we were going to win, so they held another meeting to pretend they wouldn’t lose,” said Hornak. “They held a competing meeting without authorization. Bart Haggerty sent out a fraudulent notice saying he was the chair and called a meeting. Only the official chairman can call a meeting. This is all just nonsense to confuse people because they have lost.”

Ragusa’s campaign filed a restraining order that demanded the cancellation of the opposing meeting – a demand Haggerty and Ognibene ignored.

“They tried to take us to court today and tried to stop our meeting last night and couldn’t,” Ognibene said. “I guess we will just have to proceed and I’m sure there may be legal challenges. We were in court on September 29 and we will have to go to court on October 4.”

Ognibene says he is proceeding as if he was elected and will perform all the requirements of the GOP leader until a resolution is reached. He believes that Ragusa has been ineffective and has not done enough to advance the success of the borough’s Republican Party.

“Dealing with Mr. Ragusa is impossible,” said Ognibene. “They haven’t done anything and they haven’t supported any candidates. They are into self-aggrandizement instead of helping the Republican Party. He has done nothing to move the Republican Party forward. We have done it ourselves in southwest Queens.”

Ragusa says his opponent’s accusations are unjustified and unsupported, and that Ognibene’s interest in the position is for his own personal gain.

“We’ve run Bob Turner, Jane Deacy and even Ognibene himself,” said Ragusa. “Everyone that ran with the Republican designation ran because of us. In my four-and-a-half years we’ve run more candidates than they did in the last 10 years. We have done everything a party is supposed to do. I think these are blind accusations. I haven’t seen Mr. Ognibene at a county event since I’ve been chairman. He doesn’t do anything to support the county. I think he spends most of his time on a golf course.”

If the current hearing does not settle the dispute between the party’s two factions, Ragusa says his campaign will file a separate action to invalidate Ognebene’s filing with the Board of Elections.