NY1 News has the story today that the Queens County Republican Party “is poised” to endorse Tom Ognibene, giving him some much-needed institutional backing.
Some have taken this for the natural result of Ognibene’s old friendship with the county leader, State Senator Serphin Maltese.
But we’re told by a well-informed Republican that Maltese and Ognibene are no longer on good terms, and that Maltese would prefer to back the mayor. But Ognibene and his ally, City Councilman Dennis Gallagher, threatened a coup, and Maltese wasn’t sure he could hang on to power. Meanwhile, the Queens Republicans haven’t gotten the kind of patronage from Mike that they got from Rudy, so the lower-level party officials are partial to Ognibene.
So Maltese backed down.
But this doesn’t look like a done deal to us, and the rift between Maltese and Ognibene could be an opening for Bloomberg.