2009-02-27 / Front Page

Ulrich Victorious In Special Election

By Nicholas Briano

Republican mainland candidate Eric Ulrich finished a strong campaign with a victory in Tuesday's special election to fill the empty City Council seat vacated by Joseph Addabbo Jr., defeating his closest contender, Lew Simon, by approximately 800 votes.

Republican mainland candidate Eric Ulrich won Tuesday's special election by an impressive margin, defeating Lew Simon, Geraldine Chapey and Mike Ricatto to claim the 32nd City Council District seat. Republican mainland candidate Eric Ulrich won Tuesday's special election by an impressive margin, defeating Lew Simon, Geraldine Chapey and Mike Ricatto to claim the 32nd City Council District seat. With a stronger voter turnout than expected, the unofficial results indicate Ulrich defeated Simon with 3,316 votes to Simon's 2,502, reclaiming the 32nd City Council District seat for the Republicans for the first time since Al Stabile was term limited in 2001.

Ulrich will serve in the Council until the end of this year. He must run for the seat again in the November 2009 general election with his likely opponent being the Democratic Party favorite Frank Gulluscio, who was knocked off the ballot because of an insufficient number of signatures on his nominating petitions.

After all her efforts, the candidate who challenged Gulluscio's candidacy, Geraldine Chapey, managed to collect only 846 votes. The campaign strategy to get as many of the candidates knocked off the ballot as possible proved to backfire on her, failing to attract the voters who might have voted for Gulluscio and Glenn DiResto, who was also knocked off the ballot by Chapey.

Chapey only finished ahead of wealthy conservative businessman Mike Ricatto, who ran the most expensive campaign, spending more than $100,000 which resulted in a last place finish of 651 votes.

Simon was unavailable for comment but noted on his automated answering service that he is still very much a candidate for City Council.

"We will probably go to the re-canvassing and absentee ballots," he said in the message.

According to the New York City Board of Elections there have been 507 absentee ballots returned. Therefore, it is unlikely, even with the re-canvassing of the votes that Simon will pull ahead of Ulrich. This would be Simon's second defeat for City Council, losing for the first time in the 2001 Democratic primary to Addabbo. It is unknown if he will run again in the September Democratic primary for the party's nomination.

Ulrich, 24, on the other hand, has become the youngest City Councilmember ever elected to office.

"They said a Republican can never win, he's just a kid. Well we proved them wrong," Ulrich said in his victory speech. "The voters have clearly spoken, and it's time to get to work to represent the people of south Queens and the Rockaways."

Ulrich in his short political career was elected Republican District Leader last year and is the current president of Our Neighbors Civic Association of Ozone Park.

"I am both proud of and humbled by the trust the voters have placed in me," Ulrich added. "I look forward to working together with Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn, and Minority Leader Oddo to help improve the quality of life for the people of the 32nd Council District."

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