The Queens County Republican Party is expected to hold a vote today to determine whether chairman Phil Ragusa will continue to lead the party or if former U.S. Rep. Bob Turner will take over, the Politicker reported.
A party insider told the Politicker that the vote would be held this afternoon in Whitestone.
“It’s going to be a bloodbath,” the party insider said. “Ragusa is not backing down.”
Ragusa’s faction of the party has held control since 2007, fending off challenges from the southern faction, which includes Councilman Eric Ulrich, R-Howard Beach.
Two years ago, Ulrich led a failed coup to replace Ragusa with former Councilman Tom Ognibene. But now, Ulrich has thrown his support behind Turner.
The party is still reeling from an alleged bribery scandal that resulted in the arrests of Councilman Dan Halloran, R-Whitestone, and Vince Tabone, who is Ragusa’s executive vice chairman. State Sen. Malcolm Smith, D-Jamaica, was also netted in the bust.
Turner, who previously served as congressman for Forest Hills, told the Politicker that he decided to run for the top spot in an attempt to reform the party.
“The current situation really needs to be changed,” he said. “It’s been tinged with corruption over the past five years. We have one elected official [Ulrich] left who won’t even speak to the county chairman. Things are a mess.”