An antigay mailer sent by a onetime aide prompted former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani to endorse his rival in a Republican state Senate primary in Queens Wednesday.
Juan Reyes, who worked for Giuliani during the mayor’s second term, sent the mailer criticizing Eric Ulrich, a New York City Council member, as a “gay-friendly, cosmopolitan Republican who mocked religious Americans.” The mailer, which attempts to portray the target as a flip-flopper since taking office, said that Ulrich and his wife “became frequent dinner companions of an openly gay Democrat Councilman and his husband,” a reference to council member Jimmy Van Bremer, and it said he “began cozying up to Manhattan liberal Christine Quinn,” the lesbian City Council speaker. The mailer said that Ulrich voted to direct tax dollars to “transgender groups” and “gay and lesbian centers.”
"Who knew Eric went both ways?" said the mailer.
The mailer also said Ulrich hired “an openly gay chief of staff” and “at least one other gay staffer.” According to the Queens Courier, Ulrich’s current chief of staff in the City Council is Rudy S. Giuliani, the former mayor’s second cousin.
The mayor said he had stayed neutral in the race because Reyes is a former aide, but the mailer prompted him to change his position, the Associated Press reported.
"After seeing what his campaign has done, which is disgusting, Juan doesn't belong in politics. I don't know where he belongs, but he belongs someplace else," said Giuliani. "I find these attacks, the gay-bashing attacks, childish, silly, and a real indication you don't belong in public service."
The primary contest will be decided Thursday. The winner will challenge incumbent Joseph Addabbo, one of three Democrats who changed from a no to a yes vote on marriage equality last year. The other Democratic senator still in office, Shirley Huntley, also faces a primary opponent.
Giuliani, a popular former mayor, mounted a failed bid for president in 2008 and has distanced himself from the antigay extremism among some elements in his party. Last year, after the marriage equality bill passed in New York, he told CNN’s Candy Crowley that he thought the measure was “wrong” but Republicans should “move on” from the issue.
"I think that marriage should be between a man and woman," Giuliani said, "but I think that the Republican Party would be well advised to get the heck out of people's bedrooms and let these things get decided by states."