Queens Republicans have a new chairman.
After the death of Phil Ragusa last month, the county party’s executive vice chairman, Robert Beltrani of Jackson Heights, was automatically elevated to chairman.
Beltrani, a judge with the New York State Division of Parole, will serve as chairman for the remainder of Ragusa’s term, which will expire in September 2015. Ragusa was re-elected chairman last September, according to Queens GOP spokesman Robert Hornak.
A loyalist of the late chairman, Beltrani ran for state Senate in the special election to replace Hiram Monserrate after the senator was expelled from the Legislature following his conviction for assaulting his former girlfriend. Beltrani entered the race after an unsuccessful attempt by Queens Republicans to lure former Democratic Councilwoman Helen Sears, who had just been ousted a few months earlier, onto their ballot line. Beltrani lost the race to then-Assemblyman Jose Peralta. He has also ran several times for state Supreme Court, most recently in 2012.