By William Lewis
The Queens Village Republican Club has been hosting guest speakers who have been attracting large crowds to the meetings.
At its most recent meeting, Michael Ryan, executive director of the city Board of Elections; Michael Zummo, president of the Federalist Society on Long Island; and Dennis Saffran, who ran for City Council last year, spoke about some aspect of the American voting system at the national, state and local levels.
The club also intends to participate in the Douglaston-Little Neck Memorial Day Parade.
The Whitestone Republican Club has reactivated as of May 1. The club intends to participate in political campaigns.
At the May 1 meeting, the guest speaker was attorney Grant Lally, a candidate for Congress in the 3rd District. He is presently running against Stephen Labate in a Republican primary.
Lally has run for Congress twice before against then-U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman in 1994 and ’96. Ackerman has since been replaced by Rep. Steven Israel (D-Melville), who has raised a considerable amount of money for the campaign. Whichever candidate wins the Republican primary will face Israel in the fall general election.
This year, for the first time in many years, the congressional primary will be June 24 instead of in September, but the primary for the remaining offices of state Assembly and state Senate will be in September, as has been the case since the 1970s.
This will mean two petition drives and primary elections in addition to the November election. Having these elections at different times will lead to considerable expense for the BOE.
Hopefully, all our primaries can be held in June in the future. Having the primaries completed early allows the candidates who win more time to prepare for the November election.
Recently, the Northeast Queens Republican Club hosted Rob Astorino, the Republican candidate for governor. He is the Westchester County executive. To gain that office, he defeated a Democrat in an upset victory.
If he can do the same against Gov. Andrew Cuomo this year remains to be seen. If Astorino does well in the gubernatorial race, it will be a big help to Republican candidates all over the state.
Cuomo, however, is the odds-on favorite to win, considering that he is the incumbent and has raised a lot of money. Astorino has a chance, but it will be a hard-fought race.
One recently held county dinner in the Bronx attracted a lot of interest. It was held by the Bronx Conservative Party and it had more than 500 guests, which for a third party dinner is impressive.
What is interesting is that a significant number of their guests came from Queens. This would indicate that there is a lot of political interest in Queens this year.
The guest of honor at the dinner was Carl Paladino, the Republican candidate for governor four years ago. He was interested in running for governor this year, but he was not inclined to run in a Republican primary against Astorino.
The results of the 2014 races in New York and other states, will give us a good indication as to what political trends are developing for the 2016 presidential campaign.
This year the issue of medical insurance will be important. How it plays out will give us an insight about the 2016 elections.
Hopefully, the seemingly increased interest in politics will lead to an increase in the voter turnout this year and especially in the 2016 presidential race.
The political, economic and social direction our county faces during the next 10 years will be determined to some extent by how the elections are decided during the next three years.