Mike Grimm, a G.O.P challenger to Democrat Mike McMahon’s Congressional seat, took in over $200,000 in his last filing. But in an effort to show that Grimm lacks support among voters in the district, which covers Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, the McMahon campaign compiled a list of Jewish donors to Grimm and provided it to The Politicker. The file, labeled “Grimm Jewish Money Q2,” for the second quarter fundraising period, shows a list of over 80 names, a half-dozen of which in fact do hail from Staten Island, and a handful of others that list Brooklyn as home.
“Where is Grimm’s money coming from,” said Jennifer Nelson, McMahon’s campaign spokeman. “There is a lot of Jewish money, a lot of money from people in Florida and Manhattan, retirees.” Nelson said that the list was compiled by the campaign’s finance director, Debra Solomon and that she did not know exactly how the finance team knew who was Jewish and who was not. “She herself is Jewish so she knows a lot of people in that community,” Nelson said.
Nelson stressed that the point of compiling the list was not to show that Grimm had a lot of Jewish support, but that he had little support in the district. “I don’t think ethnicity matters. When people look at who is funding his campaign it’s not people who have a direct vested interest [in the district.]”
Grimm recently went to a religious service led by Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, a Kabbalahist who is known as a rabbi to the rich and famous. Several of his followers, including Haim Revah, whose company owns the Lipstick Building and Ilan Bracha of Prudential Douglas Elliman, donated to Grimm.
McMahon meanwhile has been struggling to gain a foothold into his district’s Jewish community, estimated to be as much as 15% of the vote. A look at campaign finance filing has shown that the two largest groups of Jews in McMahon’s district – Ashkenaz Jews in Willowbrook, Staten Island and Sephardic Jews in Gravesend, Brooklyn have not donated heavily to his campaign. These are that neighborhoods that voted overwhelmingly for McMahon in his first race and were major contributors to his campaign at the time because of his good relations with those communities as a member of the New York City Council.
However, now McMahon appears to be losing that Jewish support. Insiders say that this is a result of McMahon ignoring his Jewish constituents in Staten Island and Brooklyn. One political strategist told YWN “These comments can not come as welcome news to these communities who are already reeling from President Obama’s lax support of the State of Israel and the perception that McMahon, a fellow Democrat, has ignored his Jewish constituents. These two blocs of Jewish votes have well over 1,000 votes each in the Congressman’s district. These unfortunate comments may be the tipping point that sends these communities over to the Republican nominee.”
In a move seen as attempting to temper the fall-out over these remarks, this morning Congressman McMahon fired his spokesman, Jennifer Nelson. The Congressman issued the following statement: “I was outraged by these unfortunate remarks which were unauthorized and are in no way indicative of my beliefs or of my campaign. ”
(Source: The Politicker/YWN News)