Republican congressional hopeful Mike Grimm now has the distinction of being endorsed by both halves of his party’s losing presidential bid.
On Wednesday, 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin followed Sen. John McCain in endorsing the former Marine and FBI agent in his race against Michael Allegretti for the GOP nomination to challenge freshman Rep. Mike McMahon (D–Bay Ridge).
Palin, echoing McCain’s earlier endorsement, said in a five-sentence press release that Grimm would “represent New Yorkers with just as much integrity and courage as he defended them in the FBI and the Marine Corps.”
Grimm admitted that he’s never met Palin, the controversial “soccer mom” who thinks she knows foreign policy because Russia is “right over the border” from her Alaskan home.
But he was quite happy about getting the endorsements, claiming Palin’s “common sense solutions to the problems facing our nation make her one of the most important leaders in the Republican Party today.”
Though New Yorkers rejected the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008, the team is obviously popular in the 13th district, taking it from then-Sen. Barack Obama, 52 percent to 48 percent, even as McMahon was winning the House seat in a landslide. Four years earlier, voters in the Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst district voted to re-elect President Bush.
Of course, not all Republicans care what John McCain or Sarah Palin think.
“I don’t think these endorsements will overwhelmingly help a candidate in Brooklyn,” said Craig Eaton, chairman of the Kings County Republican Party, who, full disclosure, is backing more-centrist Allegretti along with the county GOP establishment as a whole. “The voters have certain needs and certain issues that affect them on a daily basis.”
Still, an endorsement by Palin is something of a political brass ring, these days.
As the Times recently reported, Palin has endorsed just over 50 candidates and incumbents this year. Out of the 27 that have already had primary or run-off elections, only four have lost.
It’s unclear if Palin will physically appear in Bay Ridge to support Grim, but McCain has agreed to walk the campaign trail with Grimm and host a fundraiser that will certainly add to the candidate’s $603,000 war chest. Allegretti has less — nearly $217,000 according to recent campaign filings.
Allegretti wasn’t rattled by Grimm’s high-profile name-dropping, but he did offer faint praise, congratulating Grimm “for earning the support of another high-profile politician from thousands of miles away.”
“I doubt Sarah Palin has ever been on the ferry, so here’s some advice if she ever finds herself on board: Don’t bother looking for Russia, you can’t see it from our waters,” chided Allegretti. “But you can see Brooklyn. And I’d gladly give her and Michael Grimm a tour of our district if they want.”
Allegretti said he has a lot of “local support” — notably Eaton, state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), state Sen. Andrew Lanza (R–Staten Island) and Robert Howe, past president of the Bay Ridge Republican Club.