The Campaign Spot

Mike McMahon, D-Goner

Today’s Jolt is heavy on the news that Rep. Mike McMahon (D., N.Y.) is in hot water after a staffer distributed a list of his Republican rival’s donors under the heading “Jewish money.”

This is one of those classic, “are you kidding me?” (or an off-color variant) stories: “Mike Grimm, a G.O.P challenger for 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.”

Politico offers McMahon’s attempt at damage control: “”These comments were entirely inappropriate and there is no place for this kind of behavior. I was outraged by these unfortunate remarks which were unauthorized and are in no way indicative of my beliefs or of my campaign,’ said Congressman Michael E. McMahon. ‘I am proud to represent an incredibly diverse community and to enjoy an incredibly diverse base of support. Any comments that could serve to divide our community along religious or ethnic lines have no place in our community or my campaign. I sincerely apologize for her comments, and as she has since been terminated from our campaign, there will be no such incidents in the future.’”

Somehow I’m not surprised that McMahon’s defense on all this amounts to “I know nuss-ing! Nuss-ing!”

You know what, Congressman? I don’t believe you. The idea of isolating and separating all of the donors who are Jewish or suspected of being Jewish is so creepy, so chilling, so disturbing in its historical overtones, that I have a hard time believing that this sprung, out of the blue, in two staffers’ minds. Certainly the decision to distribute that list to a media entity in the belief that it would generate negative coverage of Grimm suggests a bizarre and unnerving sensibility of what constitutes a scandal in McMahon’s campaign.

Let’s assume, for the moment, that McMahon’s campaign is not a hotbed of anti-semitism, a benefit of the doubt that he has not yet earned. At best, this suggests his operation is riven with folks who have the worst of an Al Davis “just win, baby” mentality; it’s not that they hate Jews, mind you, but they thought this would make good way to somehow hurt his opponent and appeal to the anti-semitism of others. It’s not that he sought to foster suspicion and hatred of Jews, mind you, merely that he sought to profit from it politically.

Ditch him, New York. The House already has Jim Moran.


The Latest