Romney, Gingrich court Queens Republicans
Dec 07, 2011 | 3126 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Phil Ragusa & Newt Gingrich
Phil Ragusa & Newt Gingrich
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Could the rift in the Queens County Republican Party be having ramifications at the national level?

Probably not, but there were a couple of interesting news tidbits involving Queens County Republicans and two of the GOP's presidential candidates.

The first probably wasn't that significant, but on Saturday candidate Newt Gingrich met with Queens Republican Chairman Phil Ragusa to discuss his plans for campaigning in New York City and the rest of the state. Recent polls have shown Gingrich surging to the top of the Republican pack in the wake of former frontrunner Herman Cain's alleged infidelities and womanizing forced him to leave the race.

Gingrich was already in New York, making appearances across the five boroughs, so his meeting with Ragusa was likely just a complimentary call, or perhaps Ragusa attended a GOP event that featured Gingrich, but either way, here's what Ragusa had to say about his face time with the former Speaker of the House of Representatives:

“I am extremely pleased Newt Gingrich took time out to talk with me and some of my Queens Leadership team to discuss his plans. Clearly the Speaker appreciates the important role Queens continues to play, and he demonstrated a keen knowledge of the concerns of Queens’ voters. Newt Gingrich is a strong and very impressive candidate and is someone I think the American people would have great confidence in when it comes time to turn around our failing economy and put America back on the right track. We’ve been blessed with a very strong field to choose from, but everyone I talk with agrees that Newt is the smartest candidate with an incredible command of the issues. Even former President Clinton described Speaker Gingrich as a problem solver and the thought of him debating Obama is almost irresistible. One thing is clear - a mere month to go before the Iowa caucus the field is thinning and Newt Gingrich is demonstrating his experience and intellectual vigor."

The second development, however, was much more significant. Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich was named New York City Chairman for Mitt Romey's 2012 campaign - quite the honor indeed for one of the city's youngest politicians. Ulrich is just 26 years old.

Perhaps Ulrich caught the attention of GOP members at the national level with his outspoken support of Bob Turner, who would eventually go on to replace Anthony Weiner (another politician forced from the limelight thanks to his improper contact with women outside his marriage), returning a congressional seat to the Republicans after decades of Democratic control.

At one point, Ulrich was considered a possible candidate to replace Weiner, but it was he who first mentioned Turner's name.

Romney's selection adds a lot of credibility to Ulrich, who has strong connections to a rival faction of the Queens County Republicans looking to wrest control of the party from Ragusa and his supporters.

In fact, we're sure the photo that we received of Ragusa and Gingrich was in direct response to the earlier announcement that Ulrich would be heading up Romney's operations in the city. After all, they have to keep Ragusa relevant.

New York’s Republican Presidential Primary will be held on Tuesday, April 24, and will be run according to new state rules that allow each candidate to compete for delegates in each separate congressional district throughout the state,which makes a delegate-rich state like New York all that more important.

However, all that could mean very little in the actual presidential election, as under current law the winner in New York State will get all of the state 29 electoral votes. In a state that leans heavily Democratic, that means whoever wins the Republican nomination probably won't spend a lot of time and money in a state that will likely be a projected win for President Barack Obama.

But barring that, things should be interesting up until the 24th of April, and by that time the race could be down to two people: Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, and we'll be watching to see who the Queens Republican Party supports.
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