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Preparing for the Queens GOP battle in 2015

By Bill Lewis

Recently, Queens Republican County Chairman Robert Beltrani and several other county officers had a meeting with Queens Republican insurgent leaders for the purpose of trying to reach a compromise and reunite the Queens Republican Party so that they can maintain unity, especially during elections.

State Republican Party Chairman Edward Cox was present at this meeting. Two organization leaders offered to give up their leadership offices and give these positions to insurgent leaders as a way of maintaining peace within the Queens Republican organization.

Insurgent leader Robert Turner, who ran against the late Phil Ragusa last year for county chairman and lost, declined to accept the offer. He wanted the present organization county leader, Robert Beltrani, to resign and then he would step in as the new county leader, but Beltrani refused.

In 2015, the next Republican county convention of county committee people will be held in September. At that time, new county leaders will be chosen.

What that means is both sides will spend a good part of 2015 trying to build support among the county committee and district leaders.

The group that has a majority of the county committee and district leader delegates will then control the county leadership for the following two years.

That also means that both sides will be fielding candidates for district leaders and county committee in some of the same districts.

If that happens, then primaries will result. With that happening, the fight for control of the Queens GOP will continue.

As we move forward in 2015, other meetings will be held in continuing to try to resolve this dispute.

There do not seem to be major issues involved in this confrontation. Insurgent groups have been challenging the county organization for control. This particular dispute has been going on for the last several years.

It is beginning to look more and more like these matters will be settled at the September convention next year. There will be no public elections in Queens in 2015, except for district attorney and some judgeships, political party positions of district leaders and county committee. It could turn into a very aggressive election cycle.

The Queens Democratic Party moves along under the leadership of Congressman Joseph Crowley.

The types of conflicts that have plagued the Queens GOP recently have not affected the Queens Democratic Party.

The only development that seems to have caused some disunity is Chairman Crowley and the Democratic County leadership running a primary against Tony Avella for state senate.

Avella defeated John Liu by a narrow margin and therefore was able to hold on to his seat in the 11th District, formerly held by Frank Padavan.

Other than that, there seems to be unity within the Queens Democratic Party.

However, there is always the possibility that an insurgent movement could break out among Queens Democrats.

So much of what happens in 2015 will affect what happens in terms of what leadership is in control within New York’s two major political parties as well as the third parties.

It is to be hoped that the Queens GOP struggle can be resolved in a way beneficial to all concerned.

Queens County has always been considered an important county among the 62 counties of New York State.

Queens will continue in that role.

It all makes for an 2015 election year as we proceed toward the presidential race in 2016.

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