From the Times Ledger:
First, Michael Schenkler, publisher of the Tribune, in his Sept. 24 column says a reliable source close to Republican county leader Phil Ragusa informs us the Queens GOP inner circle met and were discussing possible methods to remove Halloran.
Fact: The primary was Sept. 15 and election law states the only time a substitution can be made is two weeks before the primary, which would be Sept 1. His article was printed four weeks too late. Being the political maven that you are, Schenkler, you were well aware of that fact, so why the razzle-dazzle post-mortem meaningless rhetoric? Or were you assuming the voters were a bunch of illiterate idiots who wouldn’t know any better and therefore buy what you were attempting to sell?
Second, on Oct. 3 in Maggie Mays in Bayside, I ran into Ragusa, who was celebrating the victory of being elected again as chairman of the Queens County Republican Party with his associates Vinny Tabone, Steven Graves and Anthony Carollo.
Fact: They all denied they ever discussed any way of removing Halloran as their candidate and said they stand firmly behind him and are giving him full support.
Third, as to Schenkler’s report that the Republicans had considered approaching Paul Vallone’s campaign and asking if he would be interested in obtaining their endorsement to replace Halloran as their candidate, Halloran tells a different story.
Halloran told me that when the Tribune story broke, he was upset. He called Vallone and suggested that in the event he would choose to step down, would Vallone be interested in running in his place? If so, Halloran would approach the GOP and ask if they would consider Vallone.
Now we come to all the variations on the same theme. I contacted Ragusa for his side of the story and Halloran for his side of the story. I also stopped by Vallone’s office on Francis Lewis Boulevard to get his version of the situation. His staff members informed me he was at a hockey game and would get back to me after 8 p.m. Saturday evening.
I’m still waiting.