By Howard Koplowitz
Two candidates vying to replace City Councilman Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) next year are neck-and-neck in raising funds, the earliest official campaign finance records show.
Democratic district leader Frank Gulluscio raised $32,616 through July 15, the date disclosures had to be filed with the city Campaign Finance Board.
Not far behind, Republican district leader Erich Ulrich raised $28,350 during that period.
But there was a wide gap in spending. Ulrich spent $19,541 as of July 15, while Gulluscio spent $5,872.
Gulluscio said the fund-raising totals were misleading because his own amount was collected in one quarter while Ulrich's campaign committee has been actively raising money “for the last two or three years.”
“It took him three years to get to that number,” Gulluscio said.
The earliest contribution given to Ulrich was Jan. 13, 2006.
Ulrich countered by saying he was “surprised Frank didn't raise more money” because he has the support of the Democratic establishment in the district, including an endorsement from Addabbo.
The sitting councilman will be term-limited out of office next year, but an election may come sooner if he defeats state Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale) for Maltese's seat in November.
Gulluscio, a former aide to Addabbo and former Community Board 10 member, said his campaign was reaching out to voters through “meet and greet” sessions in a homeowner's backyard through Labor Day.
“We're meeting and greeting people wherever we go,” he said. “As a Democratic district leader, I've been out there.”
Ulrich, who is also the president of Our Neighbors Civic Association and a former Community Board 9 member, said “things are going great” in his campaign and argued that he better understands the needs of the district, which covers Howard Beach, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and the Rockaways.
“I know where [the district's] been. I know where it is. I know where it needs to be,” Ulrich said.
Gulluscio pointed to his more than 10 years of experience sitting on CB 10, being a former business owner and working on budget issues in Addabbo's office to claim he was the better candidate.
“There's nobody out there with that kind of experience,” he said. “People know me. They like what I've done. There's a real record there.”
Ulrich claimed Gulluscio has not been active in the community outside of his neighborhood in Howard Beach.
“I know Frank is running on experience,” Gulluscio said. “I haven't seen him involved in many things outside of Howard Beach.”
But Gulluscio disputed Ulrich's assertion by saying his work in Addabbo's office, his CB 10 tenure and his district leader position encompass the whole district.
“Obviously, that's not just Howard Beach,” he said.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.