Great Neck public relations executive and Democratic National Committee member Robert Zimmerman endorsed Jon Kaiman on Wednesday in the Democratic race to replace U.S. Rep. Steve Israel.
Zimmerman made the endorsement at a campaign fundraiser Wednesday night at Harbor Links Golf Course in Port Washington.
In an interview March 24, Zimmerman said Kaiman, a former North Hempstead supervisor, has demonstrated an ability to find common ground and build bipartisan relationships over the course of his career.
“What makes Kaiman stand out is that contrary to the culture of soundbites and press gimmicks that define too much in politics he actually is a man with a record of real results,” he said. “And I think that, over Jon’s career, he’s demonstrated not just strong progressive values, but he’s also demonstrated the ability to build coalitions.”
The two both live in Great Neck and have been friends for at least 30 years, Zimmerman said.
The former Nassau Interim Finance Authority chairman would benefit Long Island in Washington and have a national impact, Zimmerman said, in the tradition of Israel and fellow Kaiman backer Gary Ackerman.
“I’m not voting for a friend, I’m voting for a leader,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman’s Great Neck public relations firm, Zimmerman/Edelson Inc., handles public relations for NIFA, the Town of North Hempstead and several other governmental clients.
He and the firm gave $14,875 to Kaiman’s political committee between 2006 and 2012, campaign finance records show.
Zimmerman, who had considered a run for the seat before Kaiman announced his intentions, said he and business partner Ron Edelson have both given Kaiman’s congressional campaign the maximum donation of $2,700.
He’ll also “help out in any way that’s worthwhile,” he said, such as making phone calls, knocking on doors and visiting train stations.
Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi got an endorsement March 21 from former Suffolk County Executive Patrick Halpin.
In a news release, Halpin said the former Glen Cove mayor “brings unmatched experience in both the public and private sectors” to the district stretching from Whitestone, Queens, to Kings Park in Suffolk County.
“Tom Suozzi is a proven reformer who took on Albany, straightened out Nassau County’s finances and has the impressive track record that proves he is the fierce advocate Long Island needs in Washington D.C.,” Halpin said in the statement.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz endorsed Suozzi earlier this month, which his campaign called “an impressive one-two punch at both ends of the district.”
Halpin gave $5,000 to Suozzi’s 2013 county executive campaign and $50 to his 2009 campaign.
Other Democrats running for Israel’s seat include North Hempstead Town Councilwoman Anna Kaplan of Great Neck, Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern and Levittown attorney Jonathan Clarke.