On Wednesday evening Melissa Mark-Viverito released a statement listing 30 council members supporting her bid to be city council speaker. Only one Republican appears in the group of 30, Eric Ulrich of Queens.
Ulrich’s declaration of support is notable for two reasons. First, in November he reacted harshly to the prospect of Mark-Viverito becoming speaker. Ulrich was reacting to news reports of Mark-Viverito’s “reluctance to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance.” His criticism was broader, however, saying “I don’t believe that she can be an effective counterweight to the mayor” and characterizing a Mark-Viverito speakership as a “disaster.” Second, in November Ulrich also said that he expected to vote as a bloc, albeit a small one, with the two other Republicans in the new council. He now appears to be the only Republican supporting Mark-Viverito, however.
Here’s full video of Ulrich’s discussion with reporters this evening, following the final city council meeting of the current session.
We also spoke with Steve Matteo, Council Member-elect from Staten Island, who said that he was “disappointed” by Ulrich’s decision to split from his fellow Republicans and support Mark-Viverito. Matteo also suggested that Mark-Viverito’s selection is far from settled, characterizing the selection process as “in the third quarter of a football game.”
(In November, we spoke with Matteo and Council Member Vincent Ignizio, also from Staten Island and the third Republican in the new council, about the speaker’s race. Those interviews are here.)