Eric Ulrich, right with candidate Paul Massey at a recent Republican forum, said that he would soon decide if he would run for mayor.
Rockaway’s west end city councilman, Eric Ulrich, told a forum at Columbia University on Thursday night that he is “very close to making a decision,” on whether or not he will run for mayor in the coming November election.
Ulrich was the only one of four contenders to appear at the Republicans’ mayoral primary forum that has yet to announce his candidacy.
In his opening statement, Ulrich claimed that he was weighing a run because Mayor Bill de Blasio, a liberal Democrat, does not appear to be interested in the job. The councilman, who is eligible for another four-year term representing Rockaways and parts of the mainland, has raised just short of $52,000 in a committee for undeclared office, according to city records.
“It’s the million dollar question, right?” Ulrich admitted to the press after the forum ended. “I haven’t made a decision yet. I’m very close to making a decision and I should have an announcement soon, but I’m still considering a run for mayor because I’m concerned about the future of the city and because I do believe that Bill de Blasio can be beaten.”
The forum also included real estate executive Paul Massey, former Jets defensive lineman-turned-minister Reverend Michael Faulkner and disability rights advocate Darren Aquino.
All four attacked de Blasio plenty and answered questions about their stances ranging from President Donald Trump’s policies, from immigration, to transportation, to policing to homelessness. But they refrained from attacking one another.
Ulrich emphasized his support for the controversial stop-and-frisk tactic and blasted de Blasio’s handling of the city’s mushrooming homeless population, and even called for the firing of his homelessness czar Steve Banks, according to the Observer newspaper.
But the moderate Republican lawmaker also lashed out at his own party’s president, a man he pointedly refused to endorse last year. Ulrich blasted Trump’s executive orders barring entry to people from Muslim-majority countries, comparing it to the historic discrimination Catholic and Jewish immigrants once experienced.
“I’m appalled, quite frankly,” Ulrich said.
Ulrich seemed to imply to reporters that he was waiting for the outcome of the de Blasio investigations now being conducted by several state and federal law enforcement agencies.
“I think there are things that are in my control and there are things that are out of my control,” Ulrich continued. “If the mayor’s indicted by the U.S. attorney, that’s out of my control. If that happens, I think you’ll see a bunch of people jump in the race—Democrats and Republicans.”
But he said he has control over fundraising and communications and “testing the waters”: traveling around the city to have conversations with different communities.
“Those are things that I’m gonna be taking into account and the feedback that I receive from some of the faith leaders and the opinion leaders and the business leaders in the city,” he said. “There are some people who think I should run and want me to run and there are people who are telling me not to run.”