GOP won’t challenge Avella after failing to get signatures

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September’s Democratic primary between state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and former city Comptroller John Liu will be for all the marbles since there will be no Republican contender in the general election.

For the first time in more than four decades, Queens Republicans have failed to amass enough petition signatures to get a candidate on the ballot in District 11, according to the city Board of Elections.

The GOP collected a mere 788 signatures for its candidate, Elio Forcina, far short of the 1,000 required to get on the ballot.

“It’s a huge disappointment to see the Queens Republican organization is just so incompetent that we can’t even get a candidate in a district in which Republicans can win,” said John Watch, the former president of the North East Queens Republican Club, who still serves on the group’s board. “It’s a joke.”

Of the signatures gathered in the district, only 545 were valid, the BOE said.

Timothy Furey had originally submitted petitions to run on the Republican ticket in what is considered one of the city’s more conservative districts, but decided to drop out of the race shortly after he filed.

Furey did not respond to requests for comment.

Forcina, an attorney who ran against state Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) in a 2010 primary as a conservative Democrat, was then substituted as Furey’s replacement on the doomed ticket.

“It’s a shame conservative and Republican voters are not going to have a choice in the general election,” Forcina said in an interview. “I believe neither John Liu nor Tony Avella reflect the values of this district.”

Former Republican state Sen. Frank Padavan represented the district, which includes Bayside, Whitestone, College Point, Bay Terrace, Douglaston, Hollis Hills and part of Flushing, for 38 years before he was knocked off by Avella in 2010.

Watch blamed this year’s poor showing on infighting, which has recently plagued the Queens Republican Party.

“It’s disgraceful,” he said. “It’s time for the state GOP to stop pretending there isn’t a problem in Queens and to step in and resolve it.”

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 3:53 pm, July 31, 2014
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Reader feedback

explain please says:
Why is Jian on any ballot. He has no respect for NY or US law. Should be in jail or deported.
July 31, 2014, 8:19 am
Peter from Whitestone says:
So, what a coincidence that the man that people like John Watch has been vilifying for years, Phil Ragusa, passes away and the petitions fall short. Hmm. What happened to that vibrant, pulsating Republican machine, the NE Queens Republican Club. If all the membership of that club went out and got petitions, this would not have even been an afterthought. You don't need a county party apparatus to get petitions done, as was proven when the Queens Repub traitors needed signatures to run against other Republicans. So, where's the beef. Now's your chance NEQRC to show your NE Queens power with this power vacuum in place. Now's your chance to show who the "real Republicans" in NE Queens are. You are the joke and people like you destroyed this county party. Phil Ragusa was the only decent, honest guy in all of this. Now he is gone. Step it up, big mouth.
July 31, 2014, 2:40 pm
georgetheatheist from Queens -at-large says:
Phil Ragusa WAS the problem: Mister Nice-Guy when the GOP needed (and still needs) a tiger.
July 31, 2014, 8:04 pm
Peter from Whitestone says:
Yeah, OK. Insightful point.
July 31, 2014, 11:26 pm
Marie Warhola from Whitestone says:
It is not now nor has it ever been the responsibilty of the NEQRC or any other club to circulate petitions for candidates. The petition system has broken down because the Queens County Republican Organization has broken down. When the County was working, each assembly district was represented by 2 district leaders and a chairman and it was their responsibility to circulate petitions for the various offices in their jurisdiction, assigning them to carriers who they knew would secure valid signatures (20-40 was the norm), who would then turn the completed petitions to the leaders who kept track of the numbers collected and the areas that were covered. It was an ORGANIZED process. It was the leadership who made sure that double the required number of signatures was turned in to county to be submitted to the BOE for timely filing. Now nobody knows who's carrying where and no one has any idea as to the number of signatures collected. This is a complete disaster and until it's rectified Elio's situation is going to be repeated over and over. Having State intervene is not going to solve anything because Ed Cox is your typical establishment Republican and is just as "knowledgeable". As things stand now the only suggestion I can come up with is that Republicans elect someone who can assemble the leadership in each district, someone who can stand on his/her own two feet . . like Cong. Bob Turner . . . give these leaders the authority to control their respective districts -- assigning inspectors and election day workers, etc. -- and being responsible for the circulation and collection of petition signatures for their district. Get rid of all the dead weight on the side bar of the County letterhead carrying only the names of legitimate officers and the district leaders and chairman. With the election of a responsible Chairman hopefully the Queens Republican Organization can be glued back together in a respectable form so they can field and SUPPORT qualified candidates for local offices during each election cycle. What's going on in Queens is a disgrace; the party is in a shambles and if it wasn't for clubs like the NEQRC, The QVRC, and the Forest Hills Club among others, there wouldn't be ANY Republican representation in this borough. It's high time we pull together for the benefit of the party and seek leadership that will return respectability to the Republican line.
July 31, 2014, 11:45 pm
anon from queens says:
That crook liu better not win!
Aug. 1, 2014, 5:59 am
anon from queens says:
Too many foreigners in Queens and they never vote for Republicans because dems let them get away with breaking all laws.
Aug. 1, 2014, 6 am
Peter from Whitestone says:
I defer to your knowledge Marie. Can you explain how a candidate that runs against the endorsed candidate of the county or district gets signatures. I assume the apparatus is not working for them, or is that not the case? So, if someone wants to run against the district chosen candidate, they can't do it because the district won't get petitions signed? Also, as Kevin Ryan suggested, the club seemed to be the only ones getting signatures for other candidates. Finally, Phil is dead, and coincidently this is the first time in modern history that the GOP couldn't get signatures for a candidate. He was one of the district leaders. I seem to remember another district leader was elected recently, as she was heavily pushed by the NEQRC. So, what was her involvement with all the organizing you talked about? Phil was elected legally by the county multiple times. That was determined multiple times by different judges. Sour grapes and poor losers is what destroyed this county GOP. If the other faction supported the initial leadership many years ago, and not try to tout their own convicted felons as the leadership, the county would not be in the shape it is in. Phil is dead now and the party has no rudder. It would be a good time for the "Republicans" in NEQRC to do something in this district. They seemed very capable in running campaigns against other Republicans. The big mouths get stumped when they actually have to do work.
Aug. 1, 2014, 3:46 pm
Alfredo from Whitestone says:
Peter, you hit the bullseye with acute accuracy. Well said. Poor Elio was duped to be the fall guy here.
Aug. 2, 2014, 4:14 pm
Austin fineman says:
Darn. He was going to be my client.
Aug. 3, 2014, 7:44 pm
Ron from Whitestone says:
Mr. Forcina, you must talk to Alfredo and have him stop all his multi-name commentary. He can only do harm to your campaign.
Aug. 5, 2014, 5:08 pm
Mario from Pizza place says:
Wow 100 lbs of sausice in a 5 lb bag
Aug. 15, 2014, 9:53 pm

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