After nearly a year of flirting with a mayoral run, City Councilman Eric Ulrich said on Monday that he’ll pass.
In an interview with NY1, Ulrich — the lone Queens Republican in the City Council — said he would instead seek re-election to his 32nd Council District seat. He’s represented the district, which covers Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the western Rockaway Peninsula, since winning a 2009 special election.
A half-hour before his NY1 appearance, Ulrich tweeted that he wouldn’t run for mayor even though he believed the city could do better than Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is seeking re-election.
Speculation about Ulrich’s future began last year when he formed a campaign committee “Ulrich 2017.” Without a specified office, many pundits believed Ulrich — a young, moderate Republican popular in his home district and a frequent critic of the mayor– was considering challenging de Blasio.
“It’s something that I considered for quite some time now, mulling it over these past few months with my family, my friends and my supporters, and I’ve decided that this would not be the right move for me to make,” Ulrich told NY1. “Despite what some of the polls may indicate, Bill de Blasio can absolutely be beat, but I’m not sure that I’m in a position to beat him this year.”
Ulrich said he might have opted to challenge de Blasio had he raised more money along the way, though he acknowledge it’s difficult for any candidate to unseat an incumbent mayor.
“But if you look at his (de Blasio’s) lackluster performance and his inability to bring the city together, he could be a one-term mayor,” Ulrich remarked.
Ulrich is one of the most recognizable names among Republican politicians in a city where Democrats heavily outnumber the GOP both in registered voters and in city government. There are just 3 Republicans in the City Council, and Staten Island’s James Oddo is the lone Republican borough president in the entire city.
Real estate mogul Paul Massey has already declared himself a candidate for the Republican mayoral nomination. On the Democratic side, Queens State Senator Tony Avella announced last year that he’s challenging de Blasio in the primary. Bo Dietl, a former NYPD detective, private investigator and talk radio show guest, is reportedly mounting an independent campaign for mayor.
Ulrich said he has not decided on any endorsements as of yet.