Tag Archive: Republicans

Jan 29 2015

“What About The Rest of Us?”

Frank MacKay

As the State Chairman of the Independence Party of New York, Frank MacKay gives us his first hand account of the growth of alternative politics in New York with his vivid retelling of the birth and expansion of The Independence Party of New York in his new book, “What About The Rest of Us?”

A behind the scenes look into the fastest growing third-party in New York and the case for why we really need one.

“What About The Rest of Us? poses a fundamental question in its title, and makes comparisons to the status quo hauntingly inevitable. The title is a red flag for both the left and right, in every sense of the terms. Frank MacKay, Chairman of the Independence Party of New York alludes to the compromise of one’s political integrity for the sake of aligning with dictatorial party bosses and their restrictive party platforms. The fallout is disastrous: legislative gridlock, hyper partisanship, dysfunction at the highest levels, and an inflated and inherently inefficient bureaucracy that encourages voter apathy. The best solution, MacKay argues, to stagnation in government and voter apathy is a non-partisan third major party, calling it “the most direct path to fixing our broken system.”

To the status quo, MacKay’s analysis is like shooting poisons in a barrel, but to pragmatists and reform minded centrist citizens everywhere, it’s a wake up call.

For far too long, viable third parties in the United States tend to get buried, minimized in the shrink-wrap world of red and blue politics. And all too often we hear that people are fed up with politics as usual — they don’t want to hear about republicans or democrats and if they do you’ll get an eerie cringe and a comment like “I don’t get involved in party politics,” or “It’s all rhetoric” followed by an uncomfortable silence. We’ve all been there. It’s at this point you need an icebreaker; you need an alternative, another option for all of these sensible and pragmatic people who resent partisan gridlock because it just doesn’t make any sense to them. Is it possible? Is there another option? Yes there is, and MacKay has the answer.

Brevity is the soul of wit. The heart of the book lies in a relatively simple proclamation in the Preface: “The purpose of this book is to educate the public, elected officials, candidates and future candidates on the values of the Independence Party of New York State and the emerging Independence Party of America movement.” It is from this starting point where MacKay launches an erudite tour of assessing dysfunction in modern government bureaucracy, party polarization, and the growth of partisan media.

The principal for writing this book is outlined in the first chapter where MacKay definitively lays out the position of the Independence party in stark contrast to the two-party system we’ve come to know. While both democrats and republicans have become more and more polarized, there’s a growing concern about the pernicious impact of fervently populist or ideological rhetoric in candidates running to the extreme left or right just to satisfy their party platforms and in the process compromising their own core beliefs. The results, MacKay argues, lead to voter apathy and disenfranchisement from this “broken system”.

What About The Rest of Us?Two-party system candidates have become compromised. MacKay recalls George H.W Bush, who in order to become Ronald Reagan’s running mate (and was running as an ultra conservative) had to abandon his pro-choice belief and hop on the right to life band wagon. Case in point, our two-party system severely limits a candidate’s true position, and the result leads to elected officials who don’t genuinely support said policy positions. And this is a huge problem MacKay argues, they compromised themselves and their values for the sake of an election. No wonder people are fed up!

The solution is what MacKay calls “local autonomy,” the key to the Party’s newfound success. Candidates on the Independence line do not have to take marching orders from political party bosses or follow tooth and nail a restrictive party platform insofar as policy positions and social issues are concerned, instead they are free to make conscious and pragmatic decisions as to what is best for their constituency. The Independence Party stands by the independence of their members. Such a stance scares critics and in particular republican and democratic party officials for rocking the foundation for which they have built their political power base. No wonder they assail the Party for “standing for nothing”, not realizing that they do in fact stand for their candidates and standby their autonomy, a foreign concept to many establishment types.

“There are millions of Americans who will no longer stand for this charade, and they have lost faith in the major parties and their respective leadership.   A new major party – a third choice – is what this nation needs.”

The path to reform won’t be easy, MacKay says. And campaign finance reform isn’t likely because neither party would support meaningful change and are generally protected on first amendment grounds. His response reinforces the solution he proposed in the preface, “The only reasonable path to reform is through a viable third major party movement to counter-balance the current two-party system.”

MacKay offers The Independence Party as a model for such change; with a simple and straightforward platform that “promotes political independence and centered and pragmatic leadership.” The book takes us on an inside account of the Party’s history through its formation and the evolution of leadership, both successes and failures in all its Machiavellian detail. MacKay also describes the new wave of the Independence Party, a party that has learned from factional infighting to be reborn as a beacon of hope for pragmatists and centrists everywhere.

Thanks in part to such trials and tribulations, the Independence Party is riding a wave of success — and not just in terms of political seats won but particularly among the rising number of people who like to dwell on the frontier justice of independent politics. The evidence of their success is in the numbers: The Independence Party is now the largest third party in New York with 5000,000 registered members. The tome concludes with forecasting and predictions that lay the path to victory for a nationwide independent movement with a detailed profile of an ideal third-party candidate to run for President and ultimately leading readers with the notion that it could really happen.

I found the most interesting part of the book was his interview with Laureen Oliver, the first State Party Chair and former gubernatorial candidate Tom Golisano’s chief advisor who recounts the inside story of how the Party first achieved ballot status (with plenty of surprise insight in this chapter). In this chapter we are introduced to a true a grassroots activist that traveled through all 62 counties in New York to collect petitions and achieve the coveted ballot status. Imagine the stories she could tell? She’s a brilliant strategist and I could only hope that somehow she is still involved in independent politics.

In the recent past there have been numerous smear campaigns against the Indy Party too. Are these hit jobs politically motivated by operatives in the major parties or by a partisan media? Probably, but who really knows for sure? The biggest issue — and I use that term loosely — that the media blows out of proportion are the uninformed voters confused by the voter registration form and may have unknowingly registered in the Independence Party. Every now and again during election time some bright voter will find out that he or she unknowingly registered as an Indy when they meant not to register in a political party (and then the news will do an exposé on him or her and call the Indy Party deceitful and misleading, partisan media anyone?). Perhaps it’s not that the voter was uninformed (after all it’s nothing a quick Google search wouldn’t clear up), but rather the form can be genuinely confusing. Yes the form is ancient but even the Independence Party has advocated to move “I do not wish to enroll in a political party” to the top of the form in order to avoid any more confusion. Why hasn’t that passed into law already?

I would recommend this book to anyone has become discontent with politics as usual but is looking to learn more about the mechanism and driving forces behind viable alternative politics in New York. With Shelly Silver arrested, and throngs of democrats and republican state lawmakers breaking the law or locked in partisanship, if there ever was a time for an independent movement in Queens and across New York, it’s clearly now.

In the end, the book is a fascinating glimpse into a grassroots political party that has become the largest in New York State and for good reason: It’s fusion politics that gives movements like the Independence Party a fighting chance in New York, and for this very reason it is often at odds with Democrats who seek one party control by eliminating fusion politics altogether. We can’t let that happen. Witnessing firsthand the petty party politics, the wanton decrees from political party bosses, and the compromise of candidates positions just to meet those decrees inspired me not only to write this book review and set the record straight but  to join the Party of pragmatism where I’ve since taken a leadership post as State Committeeman in the 11th SD in Queens County (State Committee members of the Indy Party have one male and one female leader per SD) of the Independence Party of New York, the first in a long, long time. So yes, we are partial to the cause. Big things are once again on the horizon.

If you want to read the inside scoop about the Independence Party, read “What About The Rest of Us?”


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2015/01/frank-mackay-what-about-the-rest-of-us-independence-party-ny/

Feb 18 2014

Meet Steve Israel’s Challenger

grantlallyRepublican honcho Grant Lally will tackle Congressman Steve Israel for control of CD-3.

From LI Politics:

Grant Lally is the managing partner of Lally & Misir, LLP. A top ranked attorney, Mr. Lally is an experienced practioner with an extensive background in commercial and corporate transactions, federal and state litigation, administrative proceedings, and appellate practice. He has practiced law for over twenty years in the New York metropolitan area, and is also a Solicitor in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Mr. Lally is an expert in legal and media crisis management and has handled many high profile matters, including those involving international jurisdictional conflicts. He has counseled and represented Heads of State, Government Ministers, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and appears regularly on radio and television.

Mr. Lally’s past practice has included successfully representing President George W. Bush before the Miami-Dade and Orange County Boards of Election at the 2000 Florida Recounts; handling numerous complex corporate reorganizations involving multi-jurisdictional assets; recovering priceless stolen art from an international auction house; restructuring of clients’ business affairs to reduce their tax and liability exposure; successfully litigating major elections cases and appeals; representing media groups in domestic and international litigation; handling complex domestic relations, divorce, and custody matters; serving as general counsel to numerous corporations in the health care, media, manufacturing, and hospitality industries; and representing parties in multi-national litigation.

Lally’s partner, Deborah Misir, has filed legal briefs and participated in the most important litigation before the US Supreme Court in 50 years – the Obamacare case.

Mr. Lally graduated with his B.A. with honors from The Johns Hopkins University; his J.D. from Boston University, School of Law; and an LL.M. in International & Comparative Law from Georgetown University, Law Center.

At Lally & Misir, LLP, Mr. Lally specializes in handling complex civil litigation and transactions, including business transactional work, corporate and business litigation, international arbitration and litigation, multi-jurisdictional conflicts including business and divorce proceedings, and the media management of these conflicts and transactions.

Mr. Lally was Founding Chairman of the Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies, Long Island chapter, and served as Founding Chairman of the New York State Republican Lawyers Association. He served on the National Board of Governors of the Republican National Lawyers Association (1990-2008), and on the Board of the Bay of Pigs Brigade 2506 Museum in Miami (2004-2006). He currently serves as National Co-Chairman of The Irish American Republicans, and serves on the Boards of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center, the Plattduetsche Home Society, the Institute for US-Cuba Relations, and the Brehon Law Society of Nassau County. He is a member of the Irish American Bar Association of New York, and the Nassau and Suffolk County Bar Associations.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2014/02/meet-steve-israels-challenger-grant-lally/

Nov 01 2013

Guiliani Says Saffran Deceived Voters

Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

This evening former Mayor Rudy Guiliani launched a robocall informing Republican and undecided voters in District 19 that he did not endorse Dennis Saffran, a GOP candidate for City Council, despite misleading literature from the campaign.

In the call, Guiliani said Saffran is actively deceiving voters by using his quotes and pictures to fake an endorsement.

“It has come to my attention that the Republican candidate has been using my name and image as part of his campaign. I’m calling to set the record straight. This is deceptive,” declared Guiliani.

The call targeted both Republican and undecided voters in the swing district, Queens-Politics has learned.

The former Mayor, who has worked alongside generations of the Vallone family, ended the call with reminding voters “that having the Vallone family in City Council is good for the City of New York”.

Below is a transcript from the robocall:

Hi, this is Rudy Guiliani I’m calling about important information about the race for City Council in your district 19. It has come to my attention that the Republican candidate has been using my name and image as part of his campaign. I’m calling to set the record straight. This is deceptive. I have not endorsed the Republican candidate in this race in 2013 for City Council District 19. He’s running against Paul Vallone and I go way back with the Vallone family. Having worked with Paul’s father for eight years improving our quality of life and seeing Paul’s brother continue his father’s commitment to a safe and prosperous city, I can say with confidence that having the Vallone family in City Council is good for the City of New York. Thank you for your time and I hope you will consider my comments when casting your vote.

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/11/rudy-guiliani-says-dennis-saffran-deceived-voters/

Oct 31 2013

Simon Says: It’s Go Time!

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 8.28.21 PMLongtime community activist, Lew Simon has all the pieces in play to take back the 32nd City Council District.

This evening I had the chance to chat with Democrat Lew Simon about his path to victory. While Simon has run before and lost, this year he is more organized by hiring an experienced campaign staff from Red Horse Strategies. 

“We’ve been on the phones, going door to door and we will be pulling them out on Election day,” Lew said describing his campaign’s strategy as focused – not only having identified the support he intends to pull out but concentrating on a large-scale ground operation.  

Lew is running against incumbent Eric Ulrich, a one term Councilman who Simon said failed to serve the entire community during his tenure. Simon cites Ulrich’s poor attendance record at Borough Board and stated Council meetings, as well as his reputation for ignoring constituents pleas for help, as grounds for removal.

“He has one of the fifth lowest attendance at meetings! That’s unacceptable when you’re being paid,” said Simon who went on to explain that if elected as a member of the Democratic party, he would be empowered to chair a committee (Simon set his eyes on Parks and Recreation) unlike his Republican rival that while in the minority party cannot chair any committees thus limiting his ability to accomplish an agenda.


Lew Simon speaks at a local rally.

Counting on his experience as a longtime Assembly District Leader, Simon feels he’ll be better able to communicate with constituents. He mentioned the support his campaign received as proof, calling it a “fusion” including members of ethnic coalitions, civic organizations, even members of his opponent’s party.

“I never would have expected Republicans to come over and work with me and I’m proud to have them,” said Simon.

His agenda for City Hall is pretty robust. “My first priority is rebuilding after the hurricane.” Simon vowed to make sure his district gets everything available “by not playing favorites” and calling participatory budgeting “a great thing”.

Neighborhood safety is also a major priority. “There are many parts of the district that have not gotten help… We need better lighting, additional police, the old-fashioned way of police officers walking the beat, not cameras, cameras that don’t do anything,” Simon explained.

In terms of supporting the Community Safety Act, Simon said “it is ridiculous to threaten police officers with lawsuits,” and pointing to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which is already in place, by giving it an enforcement mechanism by appropriate legislation.

Recently Simon had two stints placed in his heart, however the downtime had not taken him off the campaign trail entirely, in fact he made the most of it and campaigned right from his bedside.

“For the few days I was out, I’ve done more by phone, and the staff are working hard. Field operations are doing a superb job and I thank them.”


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/10/lew-simon-says-its-victory-time/

Oct 31 2013

Catsimatidis Campaign Responds To Queens-Politics

Queens PoliticsQueens-Politics received the following statement from the Cats campaign. The message read, “Just because Cats didn’t hire you for your “consulting” skills doesn’t mean you had to attack his campaign strategy. Remember there are no secrets in politics only truths backed by evidence waiting to come out.” 

Wow they finally understood something…. the nature of our post. I’m so glad, but maybe they took me wrong, I like John Cats, and yes I wanted to work for him. I always felt he had the money — therefore he would be the only candidate able to defeat Bill de Blasio!

But anyone who thinks Team Cats didn’t have a flawed plan should consider professional psychiatric help. Facts are simple, they really didn’t run a good campaign. That was the impetus to author that article — my disappointment in Cats ability to run a campaign on poignant issues with boots on the ground and community leaders with the resources necessary to achieve success.

Maybe if his team would have returned phone calls, or taken the advice of people who know how to win, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Yes, I wanted to work for Cats, but like most people I never got a call back. I’m glad I didn’t at this point. It’s shameful when your employees don’t support you because they work and you refuse to pay timely or at all.  So please take complicity, admit mistakes and take responsibility for your errors and yes, remember there are no secrets in politics only truths backed by evidence waiting to come out.

And here’s the evidence — CATS LOST.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/10/john-cats-campaign-responds-to-queens-politics/

Sep 28 2013

Phil Ragusa Emerges Victor At Queens GOP Reorg Meeting

Queens County GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa

Newly reelected Queens County GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa

Tensions flared yesterday afternoon as the Queens GOP called a meeting to elect leadership at the Reception House in Flushing.

Results were predictable. Contested Chairman Phil Ragusa won re-election with 417 votes to 174 against former Rep. Bob Turner, who was backed by Bart Haggerty and the Southern faction, and will maintain his leadership post within the Queens Republican Party, according to unofficial reports.

Republicans from both North and South Queens alliances were present at the meeting.

“The weighted vote was I think 10 points apart. Lots of proxies were disqualified so that should make for fun in court,” said a source familiar with the results.

The controversial meeting was set for 12:30PM on a Friday drawing the ire of many disenfranchised republicans who cried foul at the workday scheduled meeting claiming party officials with jobs would be unable to attend.

Events leading up to the reorganization meeting were also disputed in the press. Immediately preceding Friday’s meeting, south Queens loyalists, and supposed Party reformers, cried foul to the press over a last-minute decision to schedule the meeting not only on a workday but during a Jewish holiday.

“The source said some of the notices were mailed out during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and Jewish GOP committee members did not receive the notices and will not be able to make the meeting. Others, the source said, will not able to take off from work on short notice”, according to an article published Thursday evening in the Queens Chronicle.

Earlier this month, newly re-elected Chairman Ragusa also won his re-election as District Leader against local businessman Sal Bacarella in a highly watched race. Both victories appear to reaffirm Ragusa’s control over the party.

Will this put an end to the thirty year hostilities between northern and southern Queens Republicans? Only time will tell.

As more details emerge, check back with Queens-Politics for the latest updates.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/09/ragusa-hold-on-to-party-chair-fends-off-turner/

Sep 11 2013

Queens Primary Election Results


Bad news for Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer.

Congratulations to all of the candidates, whether you won or lost. It was a long hard summer for everyone, and some of you really deserve a pat on the back. I especially want to give a shout out to all of the campaign workers, volunteers, and behind the scenes folks that really made this possible. Above all else, a thank you to all of the voters.

As a Democratic town, there were resounding victories all over Queens. I don’t want to rehash what you already heard, so let’s briefly go over some results:

Bill de Blasio defeated all of his opponents and put an end to Christine Quinn’s reign in city government.  A runoff election is still up in the air and is set for Oct. 1st after a recount where Bill will need to garner 40% of the vote to avoid a runoff. And runoff or not, it’s not over for Bill. In November he will still have to face off with Republican Joe Lhota, who won the Republican nomination against John Catsimatidis. A democrat has not won the mayor’s seat since David Dinkins did in 1989.

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 11.28.48 AM

Mayoral results courtesy of CBS

Melinda Katz defeated Peter Vallone Jr. for Queens Borough President. The machine came out strong for Katz who will still have to face Republican Aurelio Arcabascio in November. Peter ran an excellent campaign, he stood up when others sat down. I’m sure he’ll be back soon. Congratulations are in order for Melinda.

Comptroller? Scott Stringer took the cake soundly defeating former governor Eliot Spitzer.

Cathy Guerreiro did not win the Public Advocate seat. I still believe she would have been an excellent P.A, her voice and thoughts on public policy were refreshing, however with the foundation planted for a solid campaign, she can make a run next time with better odds. It’s not often you win on your first try. Still too close to call, Letitia James, a City Council member from Brooklyn, will face Brooklyn Senator Daniel L. Squadron in a runoff.

Phil Ragusa defeated Sal Baccarella as the Republican State Committeeman for the 26th AD. A lot was at stake in this election and it looks like Ragusa will maintain his post and keep the power in northeast Queens. Dozens of other republican leadership races took place across town. As results come in, we’ll keep posting them.

In the 19th City Council District, Paul Vallone declared victory last night. It was a long hard battle, but Vallone won with 31%, or 2,723 votes to Austin Shafran’s 2,579 votes. A total of 98% of precincts reported leaving one precinct in College Point which did not report for some odd reason. Certainly Tony Avella must not be having a good morning, his handpicked candidate did not win. In November, Vallone will face off against Republican Dennis Saffran. It’s still a race to watch, but the first hurdle has been cleared.

In the 22nd City Council District, Costa Constantinides  defeated Gus Prentzas and John Ciafone (Gus lost by one vote to Ciafone coming in third place). Congratulations to Costa and his campaign team.

Rory Lanceman also declared victory in the 24th Council District as did Ruben Wills in the 28th, Lew Simon in the 32nd, and Donovan Richards in the 31st.

Lastly, Vito Lopez is no more. Antonio Reynoso took the 34th Council District, which is mostly in Brooklyn, but includes a part of Ridgewood so it’s worth mentioning.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/09/to-the-victor-go-the-spoils-queens-primary-results/

Sep 01 2013

Join Italian-Americans For Joe Lhota In Queens

joelhota.jpg.pagespeed.ce.TShHPh0jf2[From Invite] Join Italian Americans for Joe Lhota in support of our next Mayor this Wednesday evening for great food and conversation about the issues facing our City and our Borough. No, you don’t have to be Italian. Nobody’s perfect!

Details below.





Date: Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Time: 8:15 P.M. – 11 P.M.

Location: Vivaldi Ristorante 201-10 Cross Island Pkwy, Bayside, New York.

Tickets: $250 per person. *The campaign cordially requests that you RSVP and contribute online to qualify Joe Lhota for matching funds.

Contact: Michalle Makarov RSVP@JoeLhotaForMayor.com, 646-678-4796. 

Link: Italian Americans For Joe Lhota PDF Invite



Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/09/join-italian-americans-for-joe-lhota/

Aug 21 2013

The Experience of a Republican Running For Queens Assembly By Abe Fuchs

398484_2768903628325_963663312_nOne-time Queens Assembly candidate, Abe Fuchs, discusses the role of religious and ethnic voting blocs in contemporary elections and rebukes one-party dominance in favor of a game changing scenario where change could be brought about through  solidarity in terms of party registration.

Fuchs ran as a Republican against incumbent Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and lost by a wide margin. His on the ground experience set him on a course to enroll orthodox Republicans and would-be Republicans into the Democratic Party to remain competitive while maximizing their voice in the hopes of swaying the results of Democratic primary elections.

Let us know how it goes Abe!
fuchsScreen Shot 2013-08-21 at 7.07.01 PMScreen Shot 2013-08-21 at 7.07.15 PM###

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/08/the-experience-of-a-republican-running-for-queens-assembly-by-abe-fuchs/

Aug 13 2013

Who’s Winning the Money Race?


Saffran even took a shot at the seat twelve years ago, losing by a scant 400 votes to Tony Avella.

While the Democratic candidates are busy campaigning against each other, Republican hopeful Dennis Saffran finds the time to raise funds unhindered by the looming primary.

In most parts of this City the results of the primary election almost always decide the result of the general election.  Few districts remain competitive after their respective primaries but there are a few exceptions like in the 19th CD in Northeast Queens, which is the home turf of the Queens Republican Party and the stomping grounds of Councilman Dan Halloran who was arrested on corruption charges in April and not seeking reelection.

Enter Dennis Saffran, an attorney and member of the Douglaston Civic Association, who has thrown his hat into the ring with the full weight of the Queens GOP backing up the play for the 19th. But could he win?

In retrospect, the Queens GOP historically held down parts of the northeast from the days of Frank Padavan –the blue and white collar mixed community of co-ops, one and two family homes, always had a viable GOP presence which gives some red candidates a fighting chance.

According to the latest filing, Saffran raised $40,907.99, nearly three times as much any of his Democratic opponents and topping out with $56,258, but he’s still not in first place. Austin Shaffran leads the pack with $101,797 followed by Paul Vallone and John Duane with just over $80,000 a piece. Former Halloran staffer Chrissy Voskerichian and urban lobbyist Paul Graziano are also running but lag behind in fundraising.

Still, his reporting should not go unnoticed. Touting the latest filing, Saffran stated that his gains are a sign of how people are fed up with politics as usual and are looking to his candidacy as the independent choice. “That our campaign has raised nearly three times as much as any of our opponents in the last three months shows the incredible momentum that this campaign has picked up in only a short time,  and is a testament to what the people of Northeast Queens want in an elected official: an independent, reform-minded leader who is not beholden to any lobbyists or special interests.”

Regardless of their reasons, Saffran will have to work hard to rebuild his name recognition if he wants to remain competitive in the general election. In the meantime, the campaign will take place in the backyard of the Queens GOP, which has to count for something –  especially considering they are spending a ton of cash energizing the base to come out for the Primary so hopefully they won’t forget by November when Saffran will need them.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/08/who-is-winning-the-money-race/

Jun 12 2013

Graziano Helps Line Pockets Of Republican Candidate


Bankrolling the Republican opponent of a beloved democratic councilman will not bode well with primary voters.

He sent money to bankroll Peter Koo’s opponent!

Running in a Democratic Primary for the 19th Council District, lobbyist Paul Graziano made a hefty financial contribution to a GOP candidate for city council, Sunny Hahn.

Graziano’s $175 contribution to Hahn will be matched 6 to 1 by the city’s matching funds program and will be used to fund campaign related initatives to unseat Democrat Peter Koo, who is running for reelection.

Bankrolling the opponent of a beloved democratic councilman will not bode well with primary voters.

Hahn, who has flirted with running for office several times in the past few years, including a bid for State Senate against State Sen. Toby Stavisky (where she was passed over for the GOP endorsement which went to JD Kim), has already started bashing Peter Koo calling him clueless and accusing him of being in the pocket of developers at a recent meeting hosted by the Queens Village Republican Club.



Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/06/paul-graziano-helps-line-pockets-of-republican-candidate/

May 02 2013

Republicans Zero In On 19th CD Race


Screen shot 2013-04-22 at 4.04.39 AMRepublican Council hopeful Dennis Saffran unveiled a star-studded list of endorsements including former Senator Frank Padavan and Chairman Phil Ragusa earlier this week.

Distinguished former Senator Frank Padavan spoke of his longtime relationship with Saffran whom he had supported in the past when Safrran ran but narrowly lost to then-City Councilman Tony Avella, now Senator Avella.

“I’ve known Dennis and his family for many years and strongly support his nomination and election.  He is passionately committed to preserving the quality of life in our city and in the neighborhoods of Northeast Queens, and will relentlessly fight for these neighborhoods in the City Council in the same way I did in Albany.”

Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa also had some encouraging words. “Dennis Saffran has been a great advocate for the policies that have made this city a better, safer place to live during the Giuliani and Bloomberg years, and he’ll be a leader in the Council in the fight to keep these policies in place.”

Robert Hornak, Communications Director For the Queens GOP had this to say, “Dennis and his wife have been extremely active in the decade since then, while raising two great children. We’re confident that his community ties, his background in public policy and his close race from 2001 make him the strongest Republican candidate this year.”


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/05/republicans-zero-in-on-19-cd-race/

May 01 2013

No Second Term For Troubled Councilman


Dan Halloran

How about an endorsement?

Say goodbye to Councilman Dan Halloran.

First tweeted by NYDN’s reporter Lisa Colangelo, City Councilman Dan Halloran will not be seeking reelection to the 19th Council District.

In the past month Halloran has faced a number of federal criminal charges as well as an ethics probe from his colleagues. In response, Halloran finally crumbled under the enormous pressure and issued a statement announcing he will not seek reelection as he continues to vindicate his honor.

“Regrettably, I must now focus my attention on clearing my name and restoring my reputation, while I continue to discharge my sworn duties as a member of the New York City Council,” according to a press release from Halloran’s office.

Halloran was one of three Republicans in City Council.

Just a quick recap, Queens attorney Dennis Saffran (who was recently endorsed by the Queens GOP) has declared his intention, meanwhile the rest of the political world is still speculating about Rudy Guiliani’s second cousin stepping up to the plate. Halloran’s former Chief-of-Staff, Democrat Chrissy Voskerichian also filed a campaign committee.

More to follow.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/05/dan-halloran-drops-out-cd19/

May 01 2013

Queens GOP Endorses Peterson For Council


Longtime GOP hopeful Daniel Peterson is rising to the occasion. Whether or not it’s a paper endorsement is up for debate.

Can the Republicans win Peter Vallone’s Seat?

Hold on to your hats, the Queens GOP endorsed Daniel Peterson for Peter Vallone’s soon to be vacated City Council seat.

Peterson, a Republican County Executive Committee member, previously served as their Director of New Media as well as former President of the New York Young Republican Club.


On the campaign trail, he has hopes to restore balance in the heavily Democratic district with strong Conservative principals.

But questions remain, like how much support can the fractured party really deliver in western Queens?


Aside from his political accolades, Peterson has an impressive private sector resume having worked in retail as well as the music industry. Since 2008, he has been employed at Time Equities, Inc. where he focuses on commercial lease administration.

Despite a slow start with fundraising, Peterson still thinks he has a shot at victory whether he faces Democratic community activist Tony Meloni or longtime Democratic insider Costa Constantinides in a general election. Either way, Peterson will be launching his campaign full steam ahead in the coming weeks.

The seat has been held by Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. for the past 12 years.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/05/queens-gop-endorses-peterson-council/

Apr 22 2013

Saffran Joins Race For Halloran Seat


Republican candidate Dennis Saffran pictured with former Mayor Rudy Guiliani will file to run for the 19th City Council District this week.

Republican attorney Dennis Saffran announced his intention to run for the 19th City Council District in Queens currently held by Dan Halloran who will be arraigned later this week on federal corruption charges.

In an open letter to the Queens Young Republican Club Saffran wrote, “I’m running again this year for two reasons. First, of course, to restore our communities and to the Republican Party in our area, the tradition of integrity and honesty in government set for many years by Senator Frank Padavan and former Councilman Mike Abel.”

He ran for the same seat in 2001 but lost to Tony Avella by 200 votes with 35,000 ballots cast.

Saffran, 57, is a self-described neo-conservative and former head of the Center For Community Interest – a public interest group that worked to carry out the policies of Rudy Guiliani which focused on quality of life issues and crime prevention including the crackdown on squeegee men and the closure of adult entertainment shops.

During the campaign in 2001, Saffran advocated for Mayoral control of schools as well as dismantling the Board of Education. This year he intends to focus on restoring ethics in the political process as well as public safety issues such as advocating for public safety surveillance cameras despite criticism from the NYCLU “and other far left opponents.”

“Of course it was cameras liked these that allowed the Boston police to track fown the Marathon bomber in four days, and without which they would almost certainly still be at large,” wrote Saffran.

So far Saffran is the only Republican candidate to declare his intentions. A campaign committee will be filed later this week.


See the full missive below:

Screen shot 2013-04-22 at 4.44.38 AM


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/04/dennis-saffran-joins-race-for-halloran-seat/

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