The Queens Village Republican Club, The Rockaway Republican Club, The Whitestone Republican Club and the Frank Kenna Republican Club leaders are jointly calling for all candidates in the special election for Public Advocate seeking Republican support to debate in a public forum by early January.
Currently, two Republicans – City Council Member Eric Ulrich (Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Rockaway Park, Roxbury, South Ozone Park, West Hamilton Beach, Woodhaven) and Guardian Angels Founder Curtis Sliwa have announced they are seeking the seat that current Public Advocate Letitia James will vacate as she was elected to be the next Attorney General.
The leaders of these four clubs, traditionally the most active Republican clubs in Queens, were approached by Sliwa for their support, and after sitting down with him to discuss the discuss the race, realized the unique opportunity this non-partisan race presented to reach beyond the traditional Republican base.
“We are very concerned that Eric Ulrich broke with Republicans and moderate Democrats to elect the radical Melissa Mark-Viverito as Council Speaker in 2014, that he has refused to back Republican candidates in the last three elections, including his undermining of Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis’s Mayoral campaign by his support for Bo Dietl, and that his positions on so many issues have flip-flopped since his election in 2009,” the leaders of the clubs said in a joint statement.
The club leaders were also seriously concerned about the appearances of corruption with Ulrich having convicted felon John Haggerty as his top advisor after having Haggerty installed as the Executive Director of the Queens GOP.
The leaders all believe that the candidates need to be heard from in an open and competitive public forum to gauge who would be the candidate best suited to represent the values of these clubs and their members. In addition, the club leaders endorsed Sliwa’s call for a one-on-one debate between him and Ulrich, anytime and anyplace in Queens at a location of Ulrich’s choosing.
Whitestone Republican Club President Vickie Paladino said, “I was incredibly impressed with Curtis Sliwa and his in-depth knowledge of New York City and the issues both the average person is dealing with and I fought for in my state senate race this past year. While I think he would make an outstanding candidate should he declare to run, I realized what an incredible opportunity we as Republican leaders have to look beyond partisanship and elect someone who both truly represents our concerns and can forge alliances across party lines without compromising his or her integrity or independence.”
Rockaway Republican Club President Philip McManus, a club from Ulrich’s backyard, said, “”The days of the wannabe political bosses and smoke-filled back rooms in Queens GOP politics are over. Joann Ariola is not Mayor Daley and John Haggerty is not Carmine Desapio. It’s time for an open debate.”
There are club meetings scheduled for January 3, 9 and 14, any of which could serve as a setting for a debate or any location acceptable to Ulrich. A special election for the seat is expected in February of next year.