The Queens Republican Party may be on the mend after at least 15 years of internal bickering that tore apart the institution.
Last week the warring factions of the party joined forces to write a letter asking the state GOP committee head to name former Congressman Bob Turner chairman of the tattered Queens Republican Party.
Turner, who has extensive experience as a media executive, should have the right management credentials to get the Queens GOP back on its feet. At this point the party has no money and no headquarters, which means Turner will have to rebuild the Queens GOP from the ground up.
The Breezy Point resident won a special election back in 2011 to take the seat of former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who was forced to resign in a sexting scandal. But the seat was eliminated two years later in the redistricting process.
Turner’s appointment was welcomed by about 80 people who attended a rally at the American Legion Hall in Forest Hills last week amid hopes that peace might finally be at hand.
Phil Ragusa, the longtime Queens Republican Party chairman, died in June, but his leadership had been challenged by the faction supporting Turner, which contended his election was riddled with questionable procedures.
Adding to the beleaguered party’s list of problems, Vincent Tabone, the vice chairman, and City Councilman Dan Halloran , one of only two Republican lawmakers in the borough, were convicted of federal bribery charges.
Both were found guilty of illegal acts as they tried to secure a spot on the Republican ballot for state Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Jamaica Democrat, in the 2014 mayoral race.
Wasn’t there a qualified Republican kicking around in the borough to run on the GOP line? What was the Queens GOP leadership thinking?
Among the Queens district leaders who sent the letter to the state GOP chairman was Bart Haggerty, who had fought against the Ragusa camp for years.
Haggerty told the TimesLedger Newspapers the letter marked “a historic moment” that indicated “the so-called war is over.”
If Turner can breathe life into the moribund party, then Queens can have a two-party system again and field a few viable candidates, which will force the Democrats to run more aggressive campaigns and provide voters with clearer choices.
It’s in the interest of the entire borough to have a functioning Republican Party to keep the Democratic majority on its toes.