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Ognibene named on petitions as potential rival of Addabbo

By Sarina Trangle

Former City Councilman Tom Ognibene’s name has been circulating on petitions as a Republican contender for state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr.’s (D-Howard Beach) seat.

The western Queens GOP leader has not yet filed a campaign committee with the state Board of Elections specific to the pursuit of the 15th Senate District, which encompasses most of the Rockaway Peninsula, Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens, according to the BOE’s website.

Ognibene declined to comment.

Petitions for the Sept. 9 primary are due in to the city Board of Elections July 10. At that point, the BOE will ensure that those seeking to run for state office have received enough valid signatures from members of their party in the district, while examining objections to specific signatures.

Candidates have until July 14 to decline entering the primary and until July 18 to offer the party platform to an alternative candidate should the first bow out.

Petitions bearing Ognibene’s name popped up shortly after the Queens Republican Party touted a convergence of the borough’s GOP clubs to discuss mending the county’s warring factions.

The party’s present leadership, under recently deceased Chairman Phil Ragusa, has spent years feuding with a faction led by former U.S. Rep. Bob Turner, Ognibene and Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park).

Despite the mediation meeting, not all Republican leaders were expecting to see Ognibene’s name on petitions.

James McClelland, first vice chairman of the county party, said the borough organization would rally behind an Ognibene campaign if someone from his team reached out to it.

“He didn’t mention that he was running,” McClelland said of Ognibene’s appearance at the mid-June meeting.

Still, McClelland, a GOP district leader in the 37th state Assembly District, currently represented by Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Sunnyside), said every Republican club in the borough except the Ronald Reagan Republican Club was represented at the mid-June meeting.

He spoke optimistically about a year-long study of the county’s bylaws and the creation of a committee to facilitate communication among clubs.

Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at strangle@cnglocal.com.

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