GOP club meeting ends with call to the cops
Sep 12, 2018 | 5328 views | 0 0 comments | 512 512 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In most election cycles, the Queens County Republican Party is lucky if they can field one candidate to challenge incumbent Democrats, but this year there are not one, but two – count 'em, two! - GOP primaries in two State Senate races in the borough.

Tom Sullivan and Slawek Platta are squaring off this week for the opportunity to take on State Senator Joseph Addabbo in south Queens in November.

In northeast Queens, Vickie Paladino and Simon Minching are vying for the chance to face State Senator Tony Avella or John Liu, depending on who wins the Democratic Primary.

Behind the scenes, the GOP primaries are really a race between the two factions that have been trying to control the Queens County Republican Party for years now.

Minching and Sullivan are the preferred candidates of the party and people currently in charge, while Platta and Paladino have the support of party members who have been effectively shut out of meaningful leadership positions.

Any election can cause tensions and emotions to run high, but things reached a fevered pitch last Thursday night at a meeting of the Queens Village Republican Club, which invited the candidates to speak to its members.

Paladino made a name for herself when she confronted Mayor Bill de Blasio on a street near her Whitestone home last year, an incident that was captured by television crews and went viral.

She hasn't dampened her fiery attitude on the campaign trail, and she used her speaking time at last week's meeting to go on a tirade against the leadership of the Queens County Republican Party.

Specifically, she went after executive director John Haggerty, currently (these things are fluid) a major player in the Queens Republican Party who also spent some time in jail at the beginning of the decade for stealing campaign funds from then-mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Paladino didn't hold back, which eventually was too much to stand for Bart Haggerty, who is John's brother and, as vice chairman of the Queens Village Republican Club, was in the audience.

He began shouting at Paladino, and when he reached across Paladino campaign manager Robert Hornak to try and block a camera that was filming him, Hornak slapped his hand away and the two had to be separated.

WATCH VIDEO OF THE CONFRONTATION

Long story short, cops were called and the next morning a harassment complaint was filed with the 105th Precinct against Hornak.

A statement from the Queens Republican Party the next day tried to deflect Paladino's criticism of John Haggerty by dredging up Hornak's own past as executive director of the party, when vice chair Vince Tabone and Councilman Dan Halloran were convicted of a scheme to sell the party's line on the ballot, although Hornak was never accused of doing anything wrong.

An insider told us that these two elections are essentially a referendum on the party leadership, and in many ways the outcome of the November elections are irrelevant, although we're sure that's not the attitude of the GOP candidates themselves.

If Sullivan and Minching are victorious, it will cement the current leadership's hold on the party. But if Paladino and Platta come out on top, there could be another major shakeup at the top.
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