In what may become one of November's few closely contested local elections, City Councilman Eric Ulrich, viewed by many as a rising star in the local GOP, is taking on incumbent Queens Senator Joseph Addabbo for a State Senate seat that could determine the narrow balance of power in Albany. Borough reporter Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
Republican City Councilman Eric Ulrich of Queens has thrown his hat into the ring, looking to unseat Democratic State Senator Joseph Addabbo.
"While I have been able to accomplish many good things at the local level, I believe that I can accomplish even more if the people send me to Albany," Ulrich said in a campaign video posted to YouTube.
Addabbo was a councilman himself before defeating 10-term Republican Serfin Maltese in 2008.
"I'm not trying to upset the apple cart here. I'm just trying to make a difference," said Ulrich.
In 2009, Ulrich earned his City Council seat in a special and then general election. At 27, he is the youngest council member and the minority whip for the Republicans.
"I think that my experience on the budget team and working on several of the committees in the council and having oversight over city agencies prepares me to go to Albany," he said.
Newly drawn State Senate lines could give him an edge over Addabbo. The new district includes a more conservative section of southwest Queens and also happens to include much of Ulrich's current council district.
"We are willing to take the message to the voters and to work hard to earn every vote," said Ulrich.
Getting that vote will not be easy. Much of the district is still strongly Democratic, and Addabbo is popular and from a well-known, politically connected family. He also has the backing of the Queens Democratic machine and told NY1 he is not worried about Ulrich.
"I was prepared for a campaign, a re-election campaign, no matter who was running," Addabbo said. "Every candidate feels like they can do better than the next person and you know this campaign, I hope, is about the issues."
The race could prove to be a big battle.