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Councilman meets Forest Hills Republican Club

TimesLedger Newspapers

After the Queens County Republican Party made an unexpected endorsement for the 15th state Senate District, a local club welcomed a better-known candidate to its monthly meeting.

City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) visited the Forest Hills Republican Club at the American Legion Continental Post No. 1424 on Metropolitan Avenue May 30 looking to capture the GOP’s official endorsement and relate his plan if elected.

“We would rather focus on an election in November than a primary, but if we have to we will win a primary,” said Ulrich, referring the GOP’s endorsement of Forest Hills lawyer Juan Reyes, which will force a Republican primary face-off. “This is an opportunity in a newly drawn district to send the right representative to Albany.”

If he does claim victory against Reyes in a primary, Ulrich said an election against a senator like Addabbo would not be a “cakewalk.” But the councilman is confident and expects endorsements from former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and the Independent Party, which backed U.S. Rep. Bob Turner (R-Middle Village) in his surprise victory over state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) in a special election for the 9th Congressional District last year.

“Republicans have always had a fighting chance in these districts,” said Matt Hunter, president of the Forest Hills Republican Club, which covers Forest Hills, Rego Park, Glendale and Middle Village. “Now we’re actually winning.”

Residents attending the meeting said Ulrich would deliver a change of pace that is sorely needed in state politics.

“He’s a young energetic guy,” said Kevin Moriarty, a Forest Hills resident, adding the economy, taxes and jobs are the biggest issues facing the state. “We don’t want to see our money go to special interests. Instead, we want to hear a plan for lower taxes and job creation.”

An Addabbo representative said they expect the senator to run on his record: He has advocated for working families in Queens since he was elected.

“Few public servants have done more than Sen. Joe Addabbo to stand up for the working families of Queens,” said Josh Cherwin, executive director of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. “For years, Joe has been a tireless advocate on behalf of the people he represents, which is why voters continue to return him to office by significant margins. We expect the same to happen this year.”

A representative for Turner also spoke at the meeting and said the congressman is ready to square off against U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) for her seat in November.

“Bob Turner is the only candidate strong enough to defeat Kirsten Gillibrand,” said Bob Capano, Turner’s spokesman. “He’s beaten the odds before and he will beat the odds again.”

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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