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Northeast GOP Club holds mock presidential panel

TimesLedger Newspapers

Another anything-but-dull week. Last week, the Northeast Queens Republican Club held its March monthly meeting at its new place, the Clearview Golf Club House in Bayside. That is a great location for any group needing a meeting place and is convenient as well.

At this meeting, the club used a different format. It consisted of a panel of four young men, each of whom was supporting a different Republican presidential candidate.

Elio Forcina’s man was Rick Santorum, Paul Neydavood was supporting Newt Gingrich, Eric Ulrich was solidly behind Mitt Romney and Dan Halloran’s choice was Ron Paul.

Each person spoke for about five minutes, extolling the virtues of his candidate and why, in his opinion, you should vote for him. Afterward, they took questions from the floor. It was a lively and informative meeting.

John Watch, you did an excellent job providing everyone with a most interesting meeting. You are giving the club a much-needed shot in the arm. Keep up the good work. I couldn’t help but notice that the attendance is getting larger at each successive meeting.

Last Thursday evening was another fun affair. It was Halloran’s Mardi Gras birthday party at Bayside’s Bourbon Street. It’s a great place for a small party. They had more than 100 people in attendance during the course of the evening.

If we didn’t name drop, it wouldn’t be gossipy fun, so here goes. You had Queens Conservative Party Chairman Tom Long; Queens Republican Party Chairman Phil Ragusa and crew; Grant Lally, a Republican with Libertarian and Constitutional party connections; Dan Peterson from the Young Republican Group; and everyone’s favorite longtime Republican senator, Frank Padavan. It turned out to be a nice mix and everyone had a fine time and didn’t want to go home. Happy birthday, Dan!

At the end of his party, Halloran confided in me that March 26 at 5 p.m., in front of the flag pole in Bowne Park, he was scheduled to publicly announce his candidacy for Gary Ackerman’s congressional seat. Lots of Luck!

George Maragos stopped by Dan’s party later in the evening for a short visit and to wish Dan a happy birthday. When asked, George said that no matter what, he plans to stay in the race for Kirsten Gillibrand’s U.S. Senate seat. To quote George, “I’m in it to win it.” George’s opponents will be Wendy Long, Bob Turner and, of course, Gillibrand. An interesting line-up. Good luck, George!

On the other hand, let’s check out who Halloran is facing in his race for Ackerman’s seat. So far, it seems to have narrowed down to Grace Meng, Elizabeth Crowley and Rory Lancman. Apparently, there will be no lackluster political season this year.

The political races where people have to compete and work hard to get elected are always more interesting than when there is no opponent and the incumbent automatically gets re-elected. In a real race, the public likes to think they have some input, but do they really?

Most of the time your choice is limited to whichever candidates the parties approve of and are willing to help. The average voter has no idea how much time, work and money is involved in trying to run a respectable campaign.

No matter how many flaws our system has, this is still the best country in the world to live in and the most democratic one. That’s democratic with a small “d,” not the Democratic Party itself. In spite of our many trials and tribulations, who would want to live anywhere else?

I look forward to your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at deerrichard@aol.com.

Be sure to check out the Focus on Queens page.

Till next week, Dee.

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