By David Brand
In a brief video message Monday, Councilmember Eric Ulrich announced his candidacy for New York City Public Advocate, a position vacated by State Attorney General-elect Letitia James.
Ulrich, the lone Republican in Queens’ City Council delegation, positioned himself as a counterweight to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who he sharply criticized in his video.
“Now more than ever New Yorkers are looking for someone to stand up to Mayor de Blasio and his so-called progressive agenda,” Ulrich said. “I’m running for Public Advocate because I believe we as a city deserve better and I want to give a voice to the majority of New Yorkers that this mayor continues to ignore.”
A special election to fill the vacant Public Advocate seat will take place in early 2019, though an official date has not been set. At least 13 people, including Ulrich, have announced their candidacy. All of the other candidates are Democrats.
Not everyone is a fan of the position, however. Councilmembers Ruben Diaz Sr., Mark Gjonaj, Robert Holden, Ritchie Torres and Kalman Yeger have signed onto a bill to eliminate the position.
Ulrich, 33, was born in Ozone Park. He represents the 32nd District, which contains several neighborhoods in Southern Queens, including Ozone Park, Howard Beach and Breezy Point.
He was first elected to the City Council in a special election in February 2009. He held onto the seat during the November 2009 election and was elected again in 2013 and 2017.
Ulrich, one of three Republicans in the City Council, has been an outspoken opponent of de Blasio throughout the mayor’s tenure.
“Instead of looking out for us and our interests, the mayor caters to his donors and political cronies,” he said in a statement. “I'm not beholden to the party bosses and I'm not afraid to take on the mayor.”