Updated 2:30 p.m., May 12
Councilman Eric Ulrich is apparently looking to relocate to Gracie Mansion.
The 31-year-old Republican lawmaker who represents much of southwest Queens and the Rockaways filed paperwork on Wednesday with the Board of Elections to explore a possible run for mayor next year, according to the Daily News.
“It’s too soon to rule anything out,” Ulrich was quoted in the Daily News on Thursday. “I think it’s clear we can’t have Bill de Blasio for four more years.” Ulrich would later share a link to the article, without further comment, on his Twitter account.
The filing doesn’t bind Ulrich to a mayoral run; the committee could also be used to raise funds for a campaign for another office. The Daily News report, however, cited sources that indicated Ulrich would begin actively raising funds for a mayoral campaign once the Board of Elections approves and finalizes the paperwork.
The New York Post had reported in February that several Republican leaders — including Queens County GOP Chairman Robert Turner — were encouraging the councilman to make a run for the city’s highest elected post. At that time, a spokesperson for Ulrich stated that the councilman was currently focused on his present job at City Hall.
The 31-year-old lawmaker, whose district covers all or parts of Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Rockaway Park, South Ozone Park, South Richmond Hill and Woodhaven, was first elected in 2009 to succeed current state Senator Joseph Addabbo.
Ulrich is one of only three Republicans serving in the City Council. He won re-election to his seat in 2013 while, at the same time, de Blasio was swept into the mayor’s office with 70 percent of the vote citywide.
Whether it’s Ulrich or someone else, the Republican nominee for mayor in 2017 faces some stiff odds considering Democrats outnumber Republicans in the city by a 6 to 1 margin.
Even so, Ulrich is considered a moderate Republican — “fiscally conservative and socially liberal,” as the Daily News described him — and has worked closely with Democrats at City Hall. He supported Melissa Mark-Viverito’s successful campaign for City Council speaker in 2014 and serves as chair of the City Council’s Veterans Committee.
In 2012, during his unsuccessful challenge of state Senator Addabbo, Ulrich spoke out against the state’s same-sex marriage law, which Addabbo supported after previously voting against it. Last May, Ulrich changed his mind and announced his support of marriage equality. He would later express disappointment in the slate of Republican presidential candidates for opposing same-sex marriage, saying they were “on the wrong side of history.”
Ulrich supported Ohio Governor John Kasich’s presidential campaign and appeared with him during an April visit to Howard Beach. Kasich ultimately lost the New York primary to billionaire celebrity Donald Trump and has since suspended his campaign.