Ragusa is re-elected chairman of Queens GOP

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On Sept. 27, the Queens Republican Party held its convention to elect its county chairman and county officers. It is held every two years. Next year, the Queens Democratic Party will hold its convention for the same purpose.

The convention featured former U.S. Rep. Robert Turner challenging incumbent Chairman Phil Ragusa. Ragusa, who has served as chairman for the last seven years, won re-election by a vote of 417-178. The results were based on votes held at the meeting, which included members of the county who were present and voted, as well as proxy votes.

It was an impressive victory. It seems there will be court actions taken by both sides in the weeks ahead, as there were two years ago and in previous years. Two years ago, the court decided overwhelmingly in favor of Ragusa and the regular county organization.

It was on Sept. 10 that Ragusa faced a primary election for district leader, a position he also holds in addition to county chairman. He won the primary election by a landslide vote over Sal Bacarella.

Regarding the convention vote, Ragusa had votes coming in from all over the county, although he ran strong in northeast and northwest Queens. The insurgent ran well in southwest Queens. Both sides had votes in areas outside their main political power base.

As for Turner, he ran an impressive campaign for Congress several years ago. He defeated David Weprin with the help of the late Mayor Ed Koch. Unfortunately for him, his congressional district was eliminated during reapportionment.

He decided to run for the U.S. Senate in a Republican primary last year but lost to attorney Wendy Long. A significant number of political observers thought he should have run for a House seat. Had he done so, his chances would have been better. Now he has lost the county convention race to Ragusa. Will Turner cease running for office or will he try again?

At any rate, the Queens Republican Party has been locked in an internal struggle for a long time. It has hurt the ability of the county party to elect candidates. Hopefully, peace will come in the foreseeable future to the Queens Republican Party.

In the 23rd City Council campaign, retired police Capt. Joseph Concannon is running as an independent candidate under the banner of the Reform Party. He entered the race too late to get Republican or Conservative endorsement.

He is running as a law and order candidate. He strongly favors stop-and-frisk and is opposed to the Community Safety Act, which restricts police from questioning suspected criminals.

Concannon thinks the city economy will improve if a high degree of public safety is established. He has indicated that the first responsibility of a government, whether it be at the national, state or city level, is to provide a high level of protection against crime.

Although his race is a long shot, he is bringing important issues before the public.

This year politics is concerned with citywide races and local Council campaigns. These races occur every four years. In all of these races, term limits of two terms have been placed on all citywide elective offices.

When we look at the statewide offices, including the governorship, terms of office are for four years and there are no term limits. Among the legislative offices, including Congress, state Senate and state Assembly, these three offices are for two years and no term limits.

Next year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be seeking his second term and it is rumored that he has presidential ambitions. It seems that most New York elected governors have had presidential ambitions since the 1950s.

It has been in the past that U.S. citizens and some other state governments look to New York in the development of state government policy.

Posted 12:00 am, October 19, 2013
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