Photo: Mark Hallum/QNS
Councilman Eric Ulrich, with daughter Lilly, was optimistic in his loss to Jumaane Williams in 17 candidate election Tuesday night.

Councilman Eric Ulrich made Queens Republicans and even some Democrats proud when he came in second in a citywide election for Public Advocate, proving that the county GOP can compete politically in a heavily left-leaning city.

Queens County GOP Chair Joann Ariola said Ulrich’s loss was no such thing when taking into consideration Republican’s small footprint across the city.

“Although we came in second, it’s a win for the Republican Party. Eric made everyone in this state feel that the Republican Party was validated, we’re redeemed and we can win races,” Ariola said. “A Republican in a field of Democrats who had great name recognition can compete.”

Ulrich took his home borough of Queens and Staten Island with 19 percent of the vote on Tuesday night, according to NY1, while Jumaane Williams won with a solid lead by 33 percent.

In the crowded ballroom of Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach, Ulrich told the crowd of supporters how important he believes the office is despite the fact that some elected officials have questioned its relevance.

“The good news is we came in second place,” Ulrich said. “I want to thank all New Yorkers for coming out to vote in an election that some people said was not going to be how important it was.”

Councilman Robert Holden, a Democrat who won his office in 2017 by winning the Republican Party nomination, was at Ulrich’s viewing party and expressed pride in Ulrich for leading the pack in 17 candidate election.

“I’m proud of him,” Holden said while also wishing the best for the Williams.

“In a field of 17 and being the little guy from Queens, it’s not bad,” Juniper Park Civic Association President Tony Nunziato said. “November is coming around.”

Although the seat is back up for election in November, Ulrich, who called Williams to congratulate him on his victory, did not express any plans to run for the seat again.

Ariola said no decisions have been made toward Ulrich continuing his pursuit of the Public Advocate’s office, but the councilman is term limited in 2021, as are the majority of City Council members.

Tuesday’s special election was contested to fill the vacancy left by Attorney General Letitia James after she won the office in November 2018.

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