After running a spirited campaign against State Senator Joseph Addabbo, in his concession speech Councilman Eric Ulrich said that it was nothing personal against the incumbent, but that this was a race about the issues.
Ulrich did everything he could to defeat Addabbo, including spending what must have been boatloads of cash to run those ads attacking Addabbo once every three minutes on NY1 in the weeks before the election.
(Although, it appears that many of them were paid for by a political action committee, and not the Ulrich campaign itself.)
Well, it sure seemed personal to us!
But seriously, all of the political planning and polling could have never taken into account a natural disaster the likes of Hurricane Sandy hitting New York City just a week before the election and causing so much devastation in the south Queens district.
Before the election, some folks on the editorial board here at the paper sat down with Ulrich and we happened to eavesdrop on the conversation as we were passing by.
Discussing his own internal polling, Ulrich was confident in the end that the Rockaway peninsula would be what would carry him to victory.
And why shouldn’t he have been? The Rockaway peninsula was instrumental in getting Ulrich’s fellow Republican, Bob Turner, elected to Congress over Democrat David Weprin in a surprise upset.
So when that stronghold was completely upended by the hurricane, forcing voters - who had no power and in some cases no home – to travel all over the borough just to cast their vote, it was a big game changer for Ulrich, as we’re sure many just decided to sit this election out given all that was going on in their own lives.
Ultimately, the voters decided the race between Addabbo and Ulrich, but when we look back at this election the impact that Hurricane Sandy had on the race will be a constant footnote.