In the days before the Sept. 13 Republican primaries, Forest Hills lawyer and Queens’ 15th Senate District candidate Juan Reyes sent a mailer out attacking his opponent, City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), for dining with a gay Democratic Councilman and hiring gay staff members.
“Ulrich and his wife became known as frequent dinner companions of an openly gay Democrat Councilman and his husband ,” the mailer says. “Ulrich hired an openly gay chief of staff for his City Council office as well as at least one other gay staffer. Things really changed when he began cozying up to Manhattan liberal Christine Quinn, City Council Speaker.”
Quinn is openly gay and married to her longtime partner Kim Catullo. Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) is one of two openly gay councilmen in the borough. He recently married his longtime partner.
Ulrich’s campaign spokeswoman, Jessica Proud, called the mailing “reprehensible.”
“It’s that kind of negative campaign that makes people so disillusioned with politics,” she said.
Gerry O’Brien, a spokesman for Reyes’s campaign, said the mailer was intended to highlight what he said was flip-flopping on social issues by Ulrich, saying the councilman initially entered office presenting himself as more conservative than what his voting record reflects.
“No one cares about that,” he said about Ulrich having gay acquaintances. “That’s not the issue.”