Queens GOP Leaders Remain Loyal To Rudy, But Face Calls To Dump Him If He Loses Florida
When we called Queens GOP chairman Philip Ragusa yesterday to discuss Giuliani's foundering campaign, which saw him lose a 25- or 30-point lead in poll strength in Florida and New York state over the past few months and was running third after Senator John McCain and Mitt Romney in polls before yesterday's voting, Ragusa and a battery of local Republicans were busy calling voters in Florida in a last-ditch effort to win that state's primary for the former New York City mayor.
"We'll be making calls to Miami and other parts of Florida all day until the polls close to try to help Rudy become a comeback kid," said Ragusa, a CPA from Whitestone. "And when the Florida primary is over, we'll have an army of volunteers working from now until 9 p.m. next Tuesday to make sure Rudy defeats McCain and Romney."
"There were 900,000 votes from absentee voters and we're sure most of them will be for Rudy because his popularity was still high when they were sent in and McCain didn't get moving until he won in South Carolina a week and a half ago," said Ragusa. "I don't know if you can believe those polls."
Putting the Florida primary aside at this point, Ragusa turned his attention to the New York state primary, which will be held next Tuesday, February 5.
Under the state Republican Party rules, it's winner take all. Ragusa said, "After we win the state, we'll go to the convention in August and we'll use all the delegates Rudy will have to broker a deal to get him the nomination if he doesn't already have it by then."
Also supporting Giuliani was state Senator Serphin Maltese (R- C, Middle Village).
Giuliani will not be unchallenged in his bid for delegates next Tuesday. His opposing presidential wannabees John McCain, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, who have entered full states of delegate candidates, not only in New York City, but also throughout New York state.
Despite Ragusa's and Maltese's strong loyalty to Giuliani, reports persisted all last week that there were numerous defections from the ranks of Giuliani's erstwhile backers among local GOP leaders. Some of these leaders were calling on Giuliani to drop out as a candidate if he loses in Florida. This would help the state GOP to retain its viability as a meaningful force if it has to shift to McCain or Romney.
Another valid reason for wanting Giuliani out is that state leaders say they need the strongest candidate at the top of the statewide ticket to provide state senators who might otherwise be vulnerable to challenges for their seats.
Governor Eliot Spitzer has indicated he will provide strong support for Democrats that will challenge incumbent Republicans in order to let the Democrats win control of the senate and grease the wheels for incumbent Majority Leader Joseph Bruno to depart.
According to the state Board of Elections, the following are the names of the delegates in next Tuesday's primary election. However, their names will not appear on the ballots, only those of the presidential candidates that the delegates are pledged to vote for. The listings are by Congressional Districts (CDs).
The presidential candidates listed are Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and John McCain.
5th CD: Roger Cooper, Shawn O'Keefe, Nathaniel Yao, John B. Kiernan, Frank Padavan, Philip Ragusa, Peter T. Boudouvas, Vasos Panagiotopoulos, Rosa D. Feingold, Shaun Abraham, Abraham Mammen, Ed Mullins, Phil Plasencia, Ron Demeo.
6th CD: Jerry Richter, Ronald Ramo Catherine A. Wark, Claude Antoino, Katherine James, Kathleen E. Jones, Janice E. Jones, Janice E. Bar, Dawn M. Wiggins, Mary L. Petillo, Bradley Allen Crump, Ludmila Ford, Randall Ford, Marietta Chavez, Cecilia Santisteban, Joseph Kasper.
7th CD: Vijay Rajwani, Allison Oldak, Dominic Inferrera, Daniel Connolly, Joseph J. Savino, John J. Ward, Ernesto E. Bridgnanan, Arthur J. Liccione, John P. Yungert, Jason Soto, Stephen H. Weiner, Alice Lemos, Kevin Manratty, Colleen Ashton, Myrna Littlewort.
9th CD: William Roth, Melanie Roth, Ryan Cowies, Rudolph V. Giuliani, Serphin R. Maltese, Thomas V. Ognibene, Jonathan Dyckman, Troy C. Fuhriman, George H. Davila, Paul Hamkijroong, Gerard Cronin Peter O'Shea, John Macron, Ann Hannon, Ephraim Grossbein.
12th CD: Randall Leddy, Lukasz Mroz, Julius O, Joseph Lhota, Tamra Lhota, Jason S. Weingartner, Charles Brandon Bourdat, John R. Finocchio, David Raniewich, Charles C. Simpkins, Dolores Davis, Kathleen Kenny, Theodore Roosevelt, Kendrick Ashton, Dean Diefendorf.
14th CD: Austin Peterson, Avery Knapp, Jr., Bradley Tirpak, Herman Badilo, Andrew S. Eristoff, Irene Halligan, William F. Weld, Thomas E. Dewey, Jr., Nelson R. Fanner, Michael Benedict, Tony Ortiz, Kalyn Stephana, Christopher Nixon Cox, John Whitehead, Jim Collins.