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.”
As a point of comparison, the campaign also provided in-district and out-of-district fundraising totals from McMahon and Grimm’s G.O.P primary opponent, Michael Allegretti. However, they did not provide an out-of-district campaign filing from Grimm, but only a file of Jewish donors to him.
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.]“
The campaign also wanted to point out that Grimm benefited greatly from his endorsement by Rudy Giuliani, and made a separate column to denote donors who have to the former mayor’s presidential or Senate campaigns. Only five appear to have done so.
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 trying to make his own in-roads into the Jewish community. A source said that he is scheduled to meet next week with several major Jewish donors.
Reached by phone, Grimm, who is part-Italian, part-German, said he was proud of his Jewish support and said he was disturbed to hear that the McMahon campaign compiled a separate list of his Jewish donors.
“The fact that a U.S. Congressman would separate out any group by religion or even by ethnicity is nothing short of outrageous,” he said. “This goes beyond politics.”