Bloomberg Hosts Fundraiser for Zeldin Challenger
In an election that has been more about Israel and national security, the seat of the sole Jewish Republican in the House of Representatives is being challenged by a prominent Jewish figure, who’s highly admired in the pro-Israel community.
On Thursday, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be hosting a fundraiser for Anna Throne-Holst, one of the two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Rep. Lee Zeldin, at the home of Charles Myers in New York City.
Zeldin, 35, has become one of the Republican Party’s most active spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, serving as a critic of the Obama administration’s rocky relationship with Israel and leading the fight against the Iran nuclear deal.
Throne-Holst, 55, is the 3-term Supervisor of the town of Southampton in NY’s 1st Congressional District.
The endorsement of Bloomberg, who owns a home in Southampton, comes at a time when Zeldin is being criticized for voting against debating a bill that would keep guns away from suspected terrorists, a measure backed by his Long Island colleague Rep Peter King.
On Wednesday, Bloomberg met with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office to discuss gun violence. “The two discussed ways to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have access to them and what more could be done at the state and local level to help address gun violence in America. The President also thanked him for his dedication to such an important issue,” the White House said in a readout of the meeting.
According to Democratic political consultant Hank Sheinkopf, Bloomberg’s endorsement will likely help Throne-Holst in the Democratic primary since he’s seen as an effective leader.
What could also help the Democratic congressional hopeful is her opposition to the ‘Eruv’ – the Orthodox Jewish religious boundary expansion – in an ongoing battle against the Orthodox Jewish community. State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Farneti recently overturned an Aug. 2013 decision by the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals stating that the establishment of an eruv would violate the town’s sign ordinance. The Town announced it would not appeal the decision and, therefore, bring an end to the battle.
“This will be a close race – in the general election – no matter who’s at the top of the ticket,” Sheinkopf, a summer resident of Westhampton Beach, told Jewish Insider. “This is a district with a class bias and resentment against the wealthy summer crowd. It is filled with hunters, fisherman and others who are focused on economic security. As does Holst’s job as a swanky Southhampton politico help.”
But he contended that there are a lot of blue-collar Democratic voters who care about national security as well. And while being Jewish, as well as being opposed to the Iran deal, would help Zeldin in a district that has already had a decline in support for Democrats, if national security and terrorism is an issue next fall, Zeldin would be able to hold on to his seat. “Even liberals don’t want to get killed by terrorists,” said Sheinkopf. “Terrorist attacks and patterns of economic dislocation help Zeldin.”
The district should be rated leaning Zeldin, but unpredictable, he added. “At the end of the day, it all depends on how angry voters are. This is a year of surprise and astonishment. Economy and personal insecurity are the issues,” Sheinkopf asserted.