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Queens GOP Witnesses Somewhat Embarrassing Struggle for Chairmanship

February 21, 2010

Brooklyn is no stranger to close, controversial elections for GOP chairman. Last fall is a perfect example of that. But a friend of ours recently emailed us a story of interest about our GOP neighbors from the North. Apparently, in Queens, two men are claiming the crown to the GOP.

Here’s the story from the NYPost:

Who’s the Republican king of Queens?

Longtime GOP county Chairman Philip Ragusa and his perpetual challenger, Bart Haggerty, both claim the office.

Haggerty, who worked on Mayor Bloomberg‘s re-election campaign last summer, filed papers with the Board of Elections saying he was voted chairman of the Queens County GOP on Oct. 3 at a Flushing reception hall.

That’s the same date and location that Ragusa says he was re-elected.

“I opened the meeting as the sitting chair, and after all the votes were cast and counted, I was declared chairman of the executive committee and chairman of Queens County,” Ragusa said.

But Haggerty insists he won — and alleges that Ragusa’s team used a faulty counting system.

“I believe I was elected, and I am operating as chair,” Haggerty told The Post.

The Queens GOP relies on a weighted vote system that doesn’t comply with state law, Haggerty said. But Haggerty once tried to litigate that point and his case was dismissed, said a lawyer for the Queens Republicans.

“The weighted system is legal. We could change the weighted count, and the only thing that would be different is the margin of Haggerty’s loss,” the lawyer said.

From the Post.


Are things just in bad in Queens as they are here in Brooklyn?

We don’t know.

We’ll see what else we hear, and we always welcome your opinions and thoughts!

  1. Young Republican permalink
    February 21, 2010 8:52 pm

    Last fall’s election for Brooklyn GOP chairman was neither close nor controversial. Eaton won by a landslide, and nobody (that I know of) questioned the validity of the results. Just because you supported another candidate, (as I did too,) doesn’t make the election close or controversial.

    The weighted system is used here in Brooklyn too. Election districts that had more than 400 votes for the GOP’s candidate for governor, are entitled to three county committee members, districts that have more than 600 votes are entitled to four committee members. (These numbers are based on my memory and may be different.) This system makes sense because districts with more active republicans should have a greater say in party matters than districts without m/any active republicans. Is such a system really against the law? If it is, what right does the state have to dictate to a political organization how it may or may not organize? If party members don’t like it they can change it at the next convention, but for people outside of the party it really isn’t any of their business.

    • SI GOPer permalink
      February 21, 2010 9:26 pm

      I must respectfully disagree with Young Republican. I believe the elections were permeated with many problems, the least of which I found was accurately described on this blog:

      “The big story of the night was what was referred to as “The Glitch,” which gave Eaton far more votes than he actually had and his opponents fewer. There was a gross deviation between the actual tally of votes and the tally read to the the convention to begin with. Of course, the establishment figures running the party did their best to rush the convention along, but without much luck. Of course, we all know “Glitches” are not uncommon in the Brooklyn GOP, or in dictatorial banana republics, for that matter.”

      From what I’ve been told, the convention was a mess and was extremely controversial. While I sympathize with Young Republican’s point of view, I just wanted to disagree with his first claim.

      • Young Republican permalink
        February 21, 2010 11:06 pm

        The “glitch” was maybe 20-30 proxy votes, Eaton won by a few hundred votes.

      • Younger Republican permalink
        February 22, 2010 2:58 am

        Actually, they were hundreds off, my friend.

        And the proxies were counted in an “undisclosed room” off to the side unwatched. I wasn’t born yesterday, even though I’m a “Younger Republican.”

        The conduct of the people running the convention was disgraceful, and the shouting and nastiness was an embarrassment to the Republican brand.

        It may be ancient history to some, but it remains a black eye on the party. And things have gotten far worse ever since… The truth has been spoken.

  2. Wag-the-Dog permalink
    February 21, 2010 9:21 pm

    Several independent Republicans in Southwest Brooklyn have discussed setting up a single Independent Republican Club to stand against the Regular Republican Clubs that are still supporting Craig Eaton as KCRP Chairman. Based on recent activities of certain District Leaders, it is necessary to have assembly candidates stand against any coming out of the Regular Republican clubs in the 60th, 46th and 48th ADs.

    We believe that there might be several others who would wish to join us. If it appears that a viable club can be formed, we’ll schedule a pre-organization meeting—Vienna Rules.

    • Young Republican permalink
      February 21, 2010 11:04 pm

      Why is it necessary to start new clubs? If you have the numbers, then you why not join the existing clubs and when the time comes to vote for new club leadership, or to vote on which candidate to support, you get your guy in. That way you make inroads inside the party establishment. After all what’s the point of having a party if everyone goes off on their own and works against each other?

  3. Maya Karpinski permalink
    February 22, 2010 1:17 am

    We can also wonder what would have happened if we (NYC GOP) nominated John Castimatidis for mayor in 2009 and let Bloomberg run as an independent – or –
    Independent capital ( “I” = Independence Party of New York ).

  4. Callipygous Maiden permalink
    February 22, 2010 2:26 am

    Brooklyn is no stranger to controversial GOP chairs.

    It is perplexing and unwise that the KCRP Chair has been operating the county organization out of his private, for profit, law firm office, which is his livelihood or basis for his source of revenue. Both organizational entities (and more) are located at 1662 Sheepshead Bay Road in Sheepshead Bay.

    We are concerned about possible “conflicts of interests” and potential influence peddling that could compromise and skew the Party and distort decision making at the top KCRC levels due to the lack of separation between Mr. Eaton’s business and running a political party organization. Kosher it isn’t! This situation is unfair to the rank and file pavement pounders and all Brooklyn citizen voters who identify themselves as Republican by registration and conviction. In pure Brooklynese, “Fugheddaboudit!”

    The Chair’s law firm, Eaton and Torrenzano LLP, concentrates in personal injury, commercial and residential real estate and general law cases. One example of many: a possible of plethora of legal cases involves the City of NY (i.e., NYC Law Department aka Corporation Counsel, claims against the City of NY, property developers’ issues, more……?)
    Speculatively, are the law firm’s clerical, white collar employees performing work for the KCRC? Gal Friday mixing Party business and lawyer matters during her work day with legal clients’ confidential case loads? Are there violations of labor regulations?

    This is justifiable, reasonable criticism and disapproval since “The Duke of Bay Ridge” has the legal firm in the same location/address as the KCRC since about 2007/early 2008.

    • One Big Mess permalink
      February 22, 2010 8:34 am

      There is no violation of any labor regulations.

  5. Callipygous Maiden permalink
    February 22, 2010 8:44 am

    Thanks for clarifying that Craig……I mean “One Big Mess”

    • One Big Mess permalink
      February 22, 2010 9:53 pm

      I made a valid legal argument, not a factual argument. Labor laws do not cover election laws. Therefore, it is IMPOSSIBLE to have a violation of a labor regulation.

  6. Wag-the-Dog permalink
    February 22, 2010 9:20 am

    To Young Republican:

    The purpose of new clubs is to bring in new people or those disaffected by the existing sclerotic “regular” Republican clubs alligned with the existing regime of Craig Eaton.

    Independent Republican assembly candidates in 2010 are possible independent district leader candidates in 2011. The only “numbers” that count are election results. This year for congress, state senate and assembly— next year for county committee, state committee and county chairmanship.

    There are no “incumbents” on the ballot, only candidates for public office or party position.

  7. Stephanie Albanesi permalink
    February 22, 2010 10:15 am

    I agree with WTD!

    I paraphrase > The purpose of new clubs is to bring in new people or those disaffected by the existing ineffective “regular” Republican clubs alligned with the current autocratic, politics as usual, regime of Craig A. Eaton.

    New clubs could be a catalyst for reform and positive changes – and a new chairperson.

  8. Florence Nightengale permalink
    March 11, 2010 6:35 pm

    Queens GOP heavies battle over leadership:
    Ragusa, Haggerty split boro Republicans

    By Howard Koplowitz
    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    “The rift between two warring factions of the Queens Republican Party just got deeper.”

  9. Falsus et Uno... permalink
    March 12, 2010 9:24 am

    Why can’t the Queens Republicans learn to get along like the Republican County Organizations in Brooklyn and Staten Island?

    Oh, I forgot, they have. Just, let this all be a “Cautionary gale…quale…bale…hail…jail (oops not that)…tale (there, that’s it)”.


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