How did Queens end up electing three Republicans on Tuesday?
The first was Eric Ulrich, who held his seat in the Howard Beach, Rockaway section, which is pretty blue-collar and the kind of place Rudy Giuliani did well. Which is why the former mayor campaigned there with Republican Eric Ulrich. But Ulrich could have held the seat on his own. He’s young and a talented public speaker who first won the seat in a special election after the front-runner was knocked off the ballot. On Tuesday, Ulrich was helped by the fact that Michael Bloomberg carried the district, according to this fun interactive map.
In Bayside, Dan Hallaron – a pagan – edged out Democrat Kevin Kim, an aide to Representative Gary Ackerman.
The pagan angle was, predictably, distracting. One television report quotes Halloran, but attributes it like this: “Pagan said.”
Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf said the District didn’t do anything special by voting in Halloran.
“The district went back to what it was before Avella. It’s a Republican neighborhood. They made an option to vote and to sustain the old. It’s not so new,” he said.
And if you think about it, Avella was usually with Republicans when it came to things like taxes.
But it’s in Flushing that Republicans made their most surprising gain.
Peter Koo, a local businessman , beat out Yen Chou, who won a crowded Democratic primary back in September, and had the support of outgoing Councilman John Liu – who demonstrated an amazing ability to attract voters in Asian neighborhoods like Flushing.
One Democratic operative said Chou’s people made a few classic mistakes: the first was not expanding their outreach to the non-Asian voters in Flushing. Also, Chou came out of a crowded primary with just 25 percent of the vote. Since then, she hadn’t consolidated the Democratic vote or establishment to her cause, one consultant said.
Flushing Assemblywoman Grace Meng, who supported Chou, told me via email, “I think Queens Democrats didn’t expect a Republican to win in Flushing. We were focused on Kevin Kim, Liz Crowley and Bill Thompson.”
Liz Crowley, who, like Ulrich, won her seat in a special election earlier this year, held off a challenge from former Republican Councilman Tom Ognibene.