Earlier this year, Republican state Senate candidate Eric Ulrich announced his conditional support for a minimum wage increase.

It was smart politics, and not just because the measure is broadly supported by voters.

His support for the minimum wage increase, which was bottled up by the Republican majority in the Senate this past legislative session, took away a key issue of distinction for Democrats hoping to keep Sen. Joe Addabbo’s seat.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who has supported past minimum wage increases, declined to press GOP lawmakers over the measure, declaring it a heavier lift than passing same-sex marriage in 2011.

The measure, first proposed this year in January by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, would increase the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 and tie future increases to the rate of inflation.

But now Senate Democrats are spotlighting Ulrich’s failure to support a minimum wage resolution as a city councilman in Queens.

Democrats point to his not attending a minimum wage hearing when a resolution was being voted on and didn’t throw is name on it as a sponsor.

From spokesman Mike Murphy:

“The working people of Queens deserve a politician who will stand up for them and not just say anything to get elected. From not being there on important votes to naming a convicted felon as his top political adviser,” Murphy said. “Eric has proven that he can’t be trusted.”

Ulrich faces former Giuliani administration staffer Juan Reyes in a primary, but he is clearly the choice of the Senate Republicans, who dumped $250,000 into his campaign earlier this year.

Flipping the Queens district is one that Republicans are confident is within grasp this year, even as Democrats are expected as usual to vote in large numbers in a presidential election year.

Update: The Ulrich campaign responds, calling the Democratic attack “ridiculous.”

From spokeswoman Jessica Proud:

“Councilman Ulrich announced his support for increasing the state’s minimum wage and voted in favor of the resolution that came before the City Council, which is entirely consistent with his well documented position. This ridiculous attack shows just how desperate Joe Addabbo is to distract voters from the strong support Eric has been receiving, including yesterday’s endorsement by the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, while trying to hide from his own record of failing middle class taxpayers by saddling the average Queens family with $2,400 in new taxes and fees. Eric has an unblemished record fighting on behalf of hardworking Queens families and no amount of Joe Addabbo’s shameless distortions of the truth can change that.”