City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) attempted to persuade members of the Queens Village Republican Club into voting for gubernatorial candidate and former U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio at a meeting last Thursday after the county party split over its endorsement.
The Queens GOP initially backed the Long Island Republican before making a reversal and backing Lazio’s opponent, Democrat-turned-Republican Steve Levy, the Suffolk County executive.
Lazio was unable to sell himself to Queens Village Republican Club members because he was speaking to the Richmond County GOP on Staten Island that same night.
“I think it’s safe to say that New York is broke and New York is angry,” Ulrich said at Trattoria Lucia in Bellerose.
Ulrich said he did not believe the GOP’s chances to win a race against presumptive gubernatorial candidate and popular Democratic state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is a “Don Quixote fighting the windmills” effort. He pointed to U.S. Rep. Scott Brown’s (R-Mass.) victory in a solidly Democratic state along with the Republican wins of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the elections of himself and colleagues Councilmen Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) and Peter Koo (R-Flushing) in Queens.
“As Republicans, we finally have a seat at the table,” Ulrich said.
Ulrich said Lazio would cut taxes and spending as governor if elected.
“I firmly believe ... that Rick Lazio is the man for the job because he’s the best candidate,” the councilman said. Ulrich said Lazio has been “battle-tested,” saying he was outspent 4-1 in his first congressional race, but still won.
“I really believe that Rick Lazio will be the strongest candidate to take on Andrew Cuomo,” he said.
Ulrich derogatorily called Cuomo “the prince of Queens” who “hid when Albany was running out of control like a drunken sailor.”
He suggested Cuomo’s role of attorney general does not require the same skill set needed to be governor.
“You cannot indict a budget deficit,” Ulrich said.
He also attacked Cuomo in his position as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under former President Bill Clinton.
“He deserves part of the blame for the subprime mortgage crisis,” Ulrich said.
The councilman also took shots at Levy, who is running for governor as a Republican after recently switching parties.
He said if Levy wanted to run for governor, he should have done so as a Democrat, saying it would be difficult for the county executive to court Republicans after backing President Barack Obama, the stimulus package and the health care bill.
“We have a real Republican candidate for governor,” Ulrich said, referring to Lazio.
When asked if Lazio would propose the same controversial legislation drafted by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer that requires police officers to ask residents for immigration papers if they have reasonable suspicion they are in the country illegally, Ulrich said illegal immigration is an issue in the state.
“They’re laying on their backs popping out kids and we’re footing the bill,” he said, referring to paying housing, food stamps and other programs to illegal immigrants.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2010 Community News Group
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