Eric Garner Prosecutor’s Campaign Warns Al Sharpton Is ‘Coming After’ Him

Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan warned tonight that Rev. Al Sharpton is "coming after" his congressional campaign.

Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan. (Photo: Ross Barkan/New York Observer)
Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan. (Photo: Ross Barkan/New York Observer) Ross Barkan/Ob

A new missive from Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan’s congressional campaign warns that Rev. Al Sharpton is “coming after” him–and rails against the “radical Left,” including Mayor Bill de Blasio" class="company-link">Bill de Blasio, for trying to derail his campaign.

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The fund-raising email, sent tonight from Mr. Donovan’s campaign manager, Ron Carara, claims Occupy Wall Street activists are attacking Mr. Donovan online and alludes to an unnamed news story alleging that Mr. Sharpton’s National Action Network is trying to “hurt” Mr. Donovan.

The email, titled “Al Sharpton is coming after Dan, we need your help!”, comes hours after a state judge ruled that the grand jury records of the Eric Garner case would not be unsealed.

“Well, it didn’t take long but the radical Left is now attacking Dan, and we need your help. Just the other day Occupy Wall Street woke up to Dan’s momentum and started a social media attack telling their followers to ‘get him,'” Mr. Carara wrote.

“At the same time, a recent news article revealed Al Sharpton’s National Action Network is working under the radar and doing their best to hurt Dan’s campaign,” the email continued. “They were quoted saying they have to ‘tread delicately’ because they know how divisively they are perceived on Staten Island and in Brooklyn.”

The “tread delicately” line, attributed to a top-ranking NAN staffer, appears to come from a March 13 Capital New York story; ironically, the website reported that civil rights activists are focusing less on the open House race months after Mr. Donovan rose to prominence following a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer in Garner’s death.

Mr. Sharpton, an ally of Mr. de Blasio’s, is reviled in much of the right-leaning district. After Garner’s death, Mr. Sharpton angered Staten Island residents by threatening to shut down the Verrazano-Narrow Bridges with a civil rights march. (Mr. Sharpton did not immediately return a request for comment.)

The email is a departure from the mellow, above-the-fray tenor of Mr. Donovan’s campaign so far. It takes a page out of the playbook of Michael Grimm, a former Republican congressman who represented the Staten Island and Brooklyn-based district before resigning in January following a guilty plea to a tax evasion charge. Accused by some Democrats of race-baiting, Mr. Grimm attacked his Democratic rival for supporting President Obama and Mr. de Blasio while allegedly trying to bring additional public housing to the predominately white district.

The email signals, perhaps, a new phase in the special election, where Mr. Donovan is the prohibitive favorite against Councilman Vincent Gentile, a Brooklyn Democrat. As the Observer first reported, Mr. Gentile held a fund-raiser with Mr. de Blasio tonight.

“Our opponent is having a fundraiser hosted by Bill de Blasio; it’s no surprise he’s having his pals open their wallets for him,” Mr. Carara charged. “Our opponent voted with him 99% of the time. He will be the same rubber-stamp for President Obama and Nancy Pelosi.”

Mr. Gentile’s campaign said Mr. Donovan should be “ashamed of himself,” calling the email race-baiting at its “worst.”

“Dan Donovan should really be ashamed of himself for using this cowardly tactic,” said Justin Brannan, a spokesman for Mr. Gentile, in a statement. “This is race baiting at its worst. In a time when everyone in New York City should be encouraging a sense of community and trust, Dan Donovan is purposely driving a racial wedge between voters.”

“It’s a despicable thing for anyone to do but especially unbecoming of an elected official,” he added.

Eric Garner Prosecutor’s Campaign Warns Al Sharpton Is ‘Coming After’ Him