Political Action: Haggerty, Golub to square off in primary for district leadership

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This year in addition to the citywide and City Council races, the Queens Republican Party is having elections for the party positions of district leader and county committee. These elections will lead to a party convention in late September or early October to elect a county chairman and other county party officials. The Democrats will have their county leadership selection next year. Republican County Chairman Phil Ragusa is expected to be re-elected.

In 2005 and 2007, however, there were serious insurgent challenges to the county Republican leadership led by brothers John and Bart Haggerty. Early this year, it was hoped there would be peace in the Queens Republican Party and its main efforts would be directed toward gaining Council seats. That will not be the case, as recent developments in the 28th Assembly District have ensured another county-wide fight in 2009. The district includes parts of Forest Hills, Middle Village, Rego Park and Glendale.

The incumbent Republican organization district leader, Richard Metzger, several weeks ago announced he would not be a candidate for re-election in the district and instead would be supporting insurgent leader Bart Haggerty to take his place. The Republican county leadership, however, did not agree to this arrangement, since it was running Jay Golub of Forest Hills as the organization candidate. Therefore, it meant there would be a Republican primary for this important party leadership position between Golub and Bart Haggerty.

This struggle has spread to other Assembly districts, with several other district leadership primaries developing and with the Haggertys challenging a significant number of organization petitions, including the petitions for district leader filed by Golub in the 28th Assembly District. What gives the Haggertys added momentum is they are being supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bart Haggerty is on Bloomberg’s staff, working to win Queens for the Bloomberg candidacy.

Golub by profession is a dentist, but in his spare time is devoted to rebuilding the Republican Party. He originally came from Manhattan, where he held party leadership positions and ran for the Council. During his recent petition drive, when he met registered Republicans in his district, he indicated a significant number of them expressed their disapproval of the Bloomberg administration.

They seemed depressed over high taxes in the city as well as city government spending 58 percent in eight years. Golub also spoke about people not liking the rise in traffic and parking summonses being issued. Some voters were critical of the way the mayor nullified term limits.

In regard to his district leadership primary against Bart Haggerty, Golub would like to have a joint appearance with his opponent, where they could debate the issues before the registered Republicans of their district. He pointed out he does not know where Bart Haggerty stands on the issues, especially in view of his close political affiliation with Bloomberg. In a statement, Golub said, “My goal is to help rebuild the Republican Party by building connections with our community and by focusing on our core issues.”

Golub, in referring to his petitions being challenged by Bart Haggerty, also said, “We should have our primary decided by the registered voters of our district, not by lawyers and judges.”

The Conservative Party petitions for mayor, public advocate and city comptroller have been challenged. Presently, the general impression is political operatives affiliated with Bloomberg were responsible. It seems the mayor is trying to stop any challenge from the Conservative Party.

Tom Long, the Queens Conservative Party chairman, in a prepared statement regarding this situation, said, “It appears that Mayor Bloomberg’s re-election bid wants to stifle all opposition after enticing the five Republican counties and many Democratic elected officials offering to support him. He now has set his sights on the Conservative Party candidates to quiet all opposition by challenging their citywide Conservative ticket.”

Updated 6:32 pm, October 10, 2011
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