Earlier this afternoon, “a group of irate Orthodox community leaders” held a conference call to protest poll site changes implemented in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of Queens. In the call, local Jewish leaders alleged their new voting location was designed to dampen turnout in their ideologically conservative community as it struggles to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation.
“We’re a group of people who really, really suffered tremendously,” Richard Altabe, a board member of the Far Rockaway Jewish Alliance, said. “Or voting rights are about to be taken away from us. It’s going to be difficult enough to get people to vote….Our ability to speak and have our voices heard is going to be squashed by circumstances. I’m really, really horrified.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo has had an infamously frosty relationship with the New York State Senate Democratic Caucus, but things may be starting to turn around a tad.
Almost exactly a month ago, Mr. Cuomo issued a small string of endorsements to three incumbent Senate Democrats, but all of them were in heavily Democratic districts where the outcomes would not affect the overall partisan makeup of the legislative body. This morning, however, Mr. Cuomo went in a different direction and endorsed an endangered incumbent, Senator Joe Addabbo, before a crowd of Columbus Day parade-goers on 5th Avenue.
In the final days of his unsuccessful primary campaign, GOP State Senate candidate Juan Reyes sent out campaign literature accusing his rival, Councilman Eric Ulrich, of being hypocritical on the topic of gay marriage. Many Republicans felt that the mailer in question, which criticized Mr. Ulrich hiring gay staff members and eating dinner with a gay colleague crossed the line. Even former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in whose administration Mr. Reyes once worked, lumbered out to hold a press conference condemning the literature on the Steps of City Hall.
Following his loss in last Thursday’s election, Mr. Reyes apparently regrets sending the mailing. In a third-person statement posted on his campaign website over the weekend, he claimed to have not personally reviewed it and profusely apologized to anyone who might have been offended:
Can you tell it’s only a few days until Election Day? Republican State Senate candidate Juan Reyes has officially taken off the gloves when it comes to dealing with his GOP rival, Councilman Eric Ulrich.
Upset that the state GOP leadership is fully backing Mr. Ulrich to take on Democratic Senator Joe Addabbo, Mr. Reyes has sent out a mailer in the eastern Queens district declaring, “COMRADES! THE GLORIOUS PARTY LEADERSHIP HAS ALREADY CHOSEN COMRADE ULRICH AS YOUR NEW SENATOR. DO AS YOU ARE TOLD AND OBEY THEM.”
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Juan Reyes, an attorney campaigning for the Republican nomination to take on Queens State Senator Joe Addabo, has rolled out two endorsements not often seen in New York City politics: former presidential candidate Bob Dole and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The endorsements can probably be chalked up to the fact that Mr. Reyes worked for both men in Washington before returning to the city to help former Mayor Giuliani’s administration.
“He won’t tolerate the political nonsense that has done so much damage to New York’s economy,” Mr. Dole said in a statement this morning, calling Mr. Reyes an “outstanding leader who will fight for you and your family in Albany.”
City Councilman Eric Ulrich, campaigning for the Republican nomination to take on incumbent Senator Joe Addabbo, got a nice little boost for his campaign this afternoon when he announced that Congressman Pete King is endorsing his electoral effort. Although Mr. King doesn’t represent the Queens district, his turf isn’t too far away and the veteran representative very well might be the state’s top GOP official.
“Eric understands that the way to put New Yorkers back to work and grow our economy is by lowering taxes on families and small businesses and reigning in the reckless government spending that has created unsustainable deficits and threatens our competitiveness,” Mr. King said in the statement. “His conservative principles of limited government, safe streets and a strong quality of life will make him an excellent representative in Albany and I urge all Republicans to vote for him on September 13th.”
Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich, currently a candidate for the State Senate against Joe Addabbo, announced he supports legislation to increase New York State’s minimum wage to $8.50 this evening. The move places him on the opposite side of the issue than Majority Leader Dean Skelos and the Republican conference, who steadfastly oppose the legislation.
“People are hurting in Queens and the current minimum wage simply isn’t enough to make ends meet for families here,” Mr. Ulrich said in a statement. “Single parent households are especially hit hard by the rising cost of living in New York. The bottom line is that there simply aren’t enough hours in the week at $7.25 per hour to pay the rent or mortgage and to buy the basic household items they need. I have listened to both sides of this argument, but one truth resonates more than any other: If we don’t take this action, too many families are going to go under.”
GOP Councilman Eric Ulrich announced his candidacy for a State Senate against incumbent Joe Addabbo this morning, putting a new seat in play that previously lacked a strong challenger.
“Today, I am excited to announce that I will be a candidate for State Senate in District 15,” he said in a video posted on YouTube. “This was not an easy decision for me to make and I had every intention of running for reelection next fall. But the stakes are simply too high. While I’ve been able to accomplish many great things at the local level, I believe I can accomplish even more.”
Shirley Huntley, Joe Addabbo and Carl Kruger are all set to support same-sex marriage, according to Capital Tonight and the New York Times.
That gives advocates 29 Democratic votes (Democratic State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., a Pentecostal minister, is not expected to drop his opposition).
So far, no Republican has come out in support of the bill, but a handful of “undecided” GOP members are thought to be possible converts, including Jim Alesi, Greg Ball, Mark Grisanti and Andrew Lanza.