Turner out as GOP chair
Oct 04, 2017 | 18244 views | 0 0 comments | 1760 1760 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bob Turner's tenure as head of the Queens County Republican Party came to an end last week.

Party members voted overwhelmingly to elect Joann Ariola to replace the former congressman. Ariola is president of the Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic Association and a longtime GOP district leader. She was approached by party members, who asked her to run for the post.

Turner took over the reigns of the Queens County GOP in March of 2015. It was a time of upheaval for the party, and Turner was seen as somebody who could unify the party, as well as bring a measure of respectability to the county party.

Turner shocked political insiders when he won the seat that was vacated by Anthony Weiner following his Twitter scandal. He made national headlines after the victory, defeating his Democratic opponent by 4,000 votes in a district where registered Democrats outnumbered Republicans by a margin of 3-to-1.

There was always a struggle in the Queens GOP led by two competing factions that only intensified after longtime party chairman Phil Ragusa passed away. Councilman Eric Ulrich led one of those factions, and naming Turner chairman was seen by some as a concession to one of the few GOP elected officials still left in the borough.

But the relationship between Turner and Ulrich wasn't always smooth. Most recent indications it had soured was Ulrich bucking party leadership and endorsing Bo Dietl for mayor while the party officially backed Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.

And to be fair, Turner wasn't necessarily the party leader Republicans had hoped for. He failed to raise any substantial funds to run competitive campaigns in some of the few districts in the city where Republicans had a chance to be successful. In fact, many Queens seats were until recently held by members of the Republican Party, so are still considered winnable despite the voter registration disadvantages.

Now it will be up to Ariola to try to restore at least some of those seats to the GOP.

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