I wrote a few weeks ago in City & State about Republican Councilmember Eric Ulrich of Queens, and remarked that, though he is young, talented and likable, his political career seems somewhat limited. Where, I asked, can a Republican in New York City hope to go after he is term-limited out of his seat?
CM Ulrich responded to my column on Twitter:
This sentiment of impending doom on Eric Ulrich’s part probably goes a long way towards explaining his break with party (and county!) discipline to sign-on as a supporter of Melissa Mark-Viverito for Speaker: just a month after vowing that her refusal to say the Pledge of Allegiance cost her his vote. Judging the political winds, CM Ulrich appears to have concluded that he had best trim his sails and tack hard left. It is entirely possible—indeed, doesn’t it seem like a matter of time?--that he will leave the GOP and become a Democrat.
And why not? As a Democrat and a Mark-Viverito loyalist he could possibly get a committee chairmanship. Ulrich is already at odds with the Queens Republican Party leadership, and has called for the resignation of longtime boss Phil Ragusa. He is already friendly with labor, and is known to get along well with the rest of his colleagues from Queens. He co-sponsored the paid sick leave bill. It isn’t like he is from Staten Island and can hope to get some County position later on. Ulrich’s district is slowly turning Democratic anyway, so why not get ahead of the change now?