State Senate Primaries September 13
Most voters already know the significance of this November’s general election as seats in the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, State Senate and Assembly and, of course, president are up for grabs.
Before November, however, comes the election primaries which hold significant value for Rockaway residents, where, in one district, whoever wins the Democratic primary for State Senate is a shoe-in for November’s election. Huntley, the incumbent, will square off against New York City Councilmember James Sanders Jr. who’s hoping to leave his post at City Hall early to take over Huntley’s job in the newly drawn 10th Senate District which now includes a portion of Rockaway as well as other southeast Queens neighborhoods.
Senator Shirley Huntley is vulnerable. Her name has been tarnished in a recent scandal involving the indictment of several associates, one of whom is her niece, on charges that they allegedly participated in a scheme to pocket taxpayer dollars intended for public services in New York City. According to records from the investigation, a nonprofit set up by Huntley funneled member item money to those associated with it, including one of the Senator’s top aides.
The new Senate lines also mean that Malcolm Smith no longer represents Rockaway at all. In fact, the peninsula was divided between two Senate districts, the other of which now belongs to incumbent Joseph Addabbo Jr., who formerly represented Rockaway in the City Council before leaving his seat early to serve in the State Senate. Addabbo’s former State Senate district used to serve communities north of Rockaway such as Howard Beach and Ozone Park. The new lines, however, now have him, in addition, representing parts of Rockaway.
While Addabbo has no need to worry about a primary election since he’s uncontested, the Republican Party must still sort out which candidate will face Addabbo in November. Rockaway City Councilman Eric Ulrich, who won the special election in 2009 that filled the Council seat vacated by Addabbo, will face off against mainland Republican and attorney Juan Reyes who has received the endorsement of the Queens Republican Party.
Prior to the endorsement, Ulrich had already won the support of the Queens District leaders and most importantly, the State Senate majority leader. Typically, that means the county party officials will follow suit. That was not the case.
It’s been reported that Ulrich is at odds with party head Phillip Ragusa over the future leadership of the party.
If Reyes should win the Republican nomination, Ulrich will still appear on the ballot in November as a member of the Independence Party after he received the endorsement of the party earlier this summer. Ulrich’s campaign has not paid much mind to Reyes since his candidacy was announced.
Campaign spokesperson Bill O’Reilly recently told The Wave that “everyone knows Ulrich is the only candidate capable of defeating Addabbo in November. We’re confident where we are. We have nothing against Mr. Reyes, but right now we are staying focused on the general election against Addabbo.”