Queens GOP split on prez

Councilman Dan Halloran (top l.) supports Republican presidential candidates Ron Paul (below), former state Sen. Serphin Maltese (top c.) is a delegate for Rick Santorum and Councilman Eric Ulrich (top r.) has been selected as New York City campaign chairman for Mitt Romney. AP Photos (l.-r., below)/Carlos Osorio/Eric Gay/Gerald Herbert
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As Republicans from around the country struggle to get behind a Republican presidential candidate, so too do Queens elected officials and former officeholders, according to a list of GOP delegates released last week by the city Board of Elections.

Of the four current or former elected officials who are delegates to the 2012 Republican convention in Tampa, their preferences are split between three GOP presidential candidates.

Not surprisingly, City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), who was tapped by Mitt Romney to be his New York City campaign chairman, is a Romney delegate.

But Ulrich is the only elected official from the borough who supports the former Massachusetts governor.

Ulrich’s colleague, Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), is a delegate for U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

Former state Sen. Serphin Maltese is a delegate for former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, as is Maltese’s protege, ex-Councilman Anthony Como. Both men represented parts of western Queens.

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, who has been sliding in the polls after briefly going toe-to-toe with frontrunner Romney, has support from delegates loyal to Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa.

Ragusa met with Gingrich in December when the ex-Georgia congressman visited Staten Island.

While Ragusa has not endorsed any candidate in the race, a source familiar with his thinking at the time said Ragusa was leaning toward backing Gingrich.

Robert Hornak, executive director of the Queens GOP, is a Gingrich delegate.

So, too, are Robert Beltrani and Joseph Kasper, who were selected by Ragusa in the past for the Queens GOP’s slate of judicial candidates.

The state’s presidential primary is scheduled for April 24, with 92 delegates up for grabs on the GOP side.

The 92 delegates are split between 58 district delegates — each presidential candidate has two assigned delegates per congressional district — and 34 at-large delegates.

The candidate who receives the most votes in each congressional district wins his two assigned delegates. The other delegates do not get to go to the convention.

If one of the four candidates receives more than 50 percent of the vote in the state, he receives all 34 at-large delegates. If not, the delegates are distributed proportionally as long as a candidate passes a threshold of 20 percent.

There will be 337 delegates chosen on the Democratic side April 24, but President Barack Obama does not have an opponent.

Posted 5:46 pm, February 29, 2012
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