To The Editor:
As many of you know, I am a proud Republican who is deeply involved in a community that values many of the beliefs that are at the heart of true Republicanism. Some of the cornerstones of our principles are fiscal responsibility; limited government; and the upholding of God, family and patriotism in our daily lives. These were the principles that helped get me elected and I am proud to say guided me as the council member for the 30th district. These are also the principles that now require me to speak out against what I see as an affront to these values.
The 30th council district is one of the few bastions of Republican strength, unity and principles left in Democratic Party-ruled New York City. The residents of Middle Village, Glendale, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodside and Woodhaven have a long history of electing Republicans to represent them at all levels of government. They also demand a fair and transparent process that will afford them the opportunity to choose between Republican and Democrat. Sadly, on Nov. 7, they will be denied that choice.
Recently, the Queens County Republican Party approved a Wilson-Pakula waiver allowing Robert Holden (a Democrat) to receive the Republican line in the November general election for the 30th district. Democrat Robert Holden took the line from local attorney Joseph Kasper, a self-professed “placeholder” whose nomination by our party to a judicial post allowed him to bow out of the race and relinquish his placeholder position.
This is troubling for two reasons. A backroom deal was hatched sometime before June, and despite the Queens GOP’s denial, it was clear to everyone that Kasper was always intended to be a placeholder candidate, ready to be substituted at the right moment. Indeed, the Queens GOP and its handpicked placeholder did nothing that a serious candidate or campaign does: He does not live in the council district, as is required by law. Kasper had no campaign office, no mail, no fundraisers and not even a filing with the NYC Campaign Finance Board, as is also required by law. Furthermore, when I specifically questioned him regarding this issue, he admitted to me that he was not going to remain the candidate and would relinquish the position. Meanwhile, Holden was able to play coy with voters and the press by denying the growing rumors of a political bait-and-switch scam, all while claiming to be a proud, lifelong Democrat running in the Democratic primary. However, despite being a life-long Democrat, Holden was defeated soundly by Elizabeth Crowley.
What angers “rank and file” Republicans is that this concocted scheme by Holden and the Queens GOP denies voters their right to choose between a Republican and Democratic candidate to represent them in the New York City Council. On Nov. 7, Republicans in the district will be voting for a candidate whom they did not nominate nor get to consider in an open Republican primary. On this November’s ballot, the Republican candidate will be an erstwhile longstanding Democrat who is little more than a pawn for party bosses. Voters should be outraged. I know I am.
Holden’s greatest hypocrisy and criticism of his opponent has been that Crowley is beholden to powerful Democratic bosses. On every issue of the campaign, he warned voters that she will sell them out by toeing the party line and putting constituents’ needs second. Say what you will about Councilwoman Crowley, but she at least faced Democratic voters in a successful hard-fought and often-bitter primary against Holden. She soundly won on her record of two terms in the City Council and service to her constituency—in fact, the Democratic primary was not even close.
As a Republican, I may not agree with Elizabeth Crowley on various issues, but I respect that she engaged voters in an open and transparent electoral process. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about Bob Holden and the former Queens County Republican party chairman, Bob Turner, who lost his re-election bid to remain chairman in last week’s Republican Party reorganization meeting.
Furthermore, as a young Republican, I am proud to be in the party of Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Serphin R. Maltese, Sen. Frank Padavan and City Council Minority Leader Thomas V. Ognibene. They took young people like me who care about Republican ideals and our community and inspired us by championing those ideals and teaching us by always demonstrating their unwavering commitment to build and keep our party strong.
If we as Republicans want to be a viable and strong alternative to Democrats, we must stand by our principles, grow our party the right way and support real Republican candidates. We cannot achieve this if we continue to sell out our party in secret backroom deals. We must stand up and put an end to these disgusting scams and people embarrassing our party by trying to trick voters. Otherwise, we are just becoming what we have long criticized and reviled—and that is no recipe for Republican success at the ballot box.
Anthony Como, Esq., is a former council member for the 30th district.