Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), the only Republican lawmaker in Queens, is exploring a possible mayoral run to unseat Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2017.
Ulrich, 31, filed paperwork last Friday with the state Board of Elections to establish an exploratory committee, “Ulrich 2017.” He did not specify which office he might run for when he filed the paperwork, which means that for the time being Ulrich can raise funds for a potential mayoral campaign or can later decide to turn his attention towards a 2017 re-election campaign for his seat in the council. His District 32 includes parts of Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach and Woodhaven.
“It allows him to continue exploring a run for mayor in a more concrete fashion,” a spokesman for Ulrich said. He noted that Ulrich had no specific timeline as to when he would reach a decision about pursuing a run for mayor.
If Ulrich decides to run, the contribution limits for individuals to his campaign would be $4,950, according to the Campaign Finance Board’s website. For a City Council race, the limit is $2,750. While Ulrich can currently raise as much as $4,950 with the exploratory committee, he would have to refund the remainder of any contribution greater than $2,750 if he decides to forgo a mayoral run and concentrate on the race for the council seat.
The New York Post reported in February that leading GOP voices in the city and state were encouraging Ulrich to challenge de Blasio in the 2017 general election, including Queens Republican Party Chairman Bob Turner and Joe Lhota, who ran unsuccessfully against de Blasio in the mayoral general election of 2013.
Turner said Ulrich would be a formidable candidate and hoped he would consider running for mayor. He said he had known Ulrich since Turner bested David Weprin in a special election to replace U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who represented the 9th Congressional District, in 2011.
“I think his record on voting for fiscal responsibility in the city, and responding to some of the excesses of the de Blasio administration in education and other areas probably put him in good stead with a large swath of the middle class,” Turner said about Ulrich. “He’s tough to pigeonhole.”
Ulrich is one of only three Republicans in the City Council. He was elected to represent District 32 in a special election in February 2009. He won in a general election campaign in November 2009 and won re-election in November 2013. He is currently the Council’s Veterans’ Committee chairman.
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona
©2016 Community News Group
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