Last Sunday’s Oath Ceremony, Absence of Input on Staff Picks, Highlights Eaton’s Lack of Influence With Grimm
Recently, Brooklyn GOP Chairman Craig Eaton has tried to make it appear as though he and newly minted Congressman Michael Grimm are the best of pals.
But many Republican insiders we have spoken with have suspected that nothing could be further from the truth.
Now, one major source familiar with the matter says that Eaton’s decison last year to back lobbyist Michael Allegretti over Mr. Grimm and “his ego” have poisoned any chance for a genuine relationship.
That source, a well-known New York City Republican who conditioned the information given to Atlas Shrugs in Brooklyn on anonymity, provided very telling facts about the relationship between the faltering Brooklyn GOP Chairman and Team Grimm.
Eaton, for his part, has been making public statements and appearances to try and make it seem as though all is well in Brooklyn. That includes his “involvement” in the 13th Congressional district race. While Eaton claims he and Mr. Grimm are close, our source tells us this could not be further from the truth.
Nowhere is this clearer in the staff picks for Mr. Grimm. Our source claims Craig Eaton was not informed or consulted in any way whatsoever on any of now Congressman Grimm’s Brooklyn staff appointments, which speaks volumes about Eaton’s lack of influence with the city’s only Republican member of Congress. Since early December, Eaton was privately leading people to believe he would play a key role in Brooklyn staff picks.
That has not happened.
Normally, newly elected officials would consult directly with their county chair. Indeed, it is not uncommon for elected officials to ask the chairman for recommendations for staff positions (as was the case with other newly elected Republican House members in upstate New York). Mr. Grimm has apparently elected to trust his own judgment (a wise move, in the opinion of many of my colleagues).
This political impotence stems from his poor decision to support former 13th Congressional candidate Michael Allegretti in last year’s primary.
(For more on the Brooklyn GOP’s flop with Michael Allegretti, click here)
It “has and will continue to haunt him,” said our primary source.
This was apparently on full display at Mr. Grimm’s swearing-in ceremony this past Sunday. One source tells us it was clear to all that were present that there was no close personal connection between the new congressman and Mr. Eaton. The unimpressive presence of Eaton was even a point of discussion among insiders after the event.
The devil was is the details of the ceremony, one source indicated.
In Grimm’s remarks, Eaton received merely superficial acknowledgments of being the Republican Chairman, and Grimm noted Eaton’s support of Grimm “after the primary.” No extolling. No high praise. Nothing more than that.
To add insult to Mr. Eaton, Grimm apparently went on to state that “even better” was the support of those who endorsed him “before” the primary. We imagine that includes his public supporters and campaign officials.
Notably, those individuals would include Bob Capano, Brooklyn campaign manager Joe Kovac, the Conservative Party, Young Republican President Jonathan Judge, and maybe even Atlas Shrugs in Brooklyn’s Francisco D’Anconia, all of whom provided public support of Grimm while the county leadership was still suffering from Allegretti Fever.
Drawing this distinction was clearly “a wound to Eaton’s ego,” said another source.
Those hoping for a change in Mr. Eaton after the elections–perhaps a humbler, more respectful chairman?–were disappointed in the aftermath of the Brooklyn GOP’s loss of every single candidate within our borough.
“[He] has not changed at all,” said one GOPer. “Many know he is not an effective leader or chairman.”
In fact, the same NYC Republican source who provided us with the goods on the Grimm/Eaton relationship highlighted Eaton’s consistent alienation of many and his lack of political skills (as demonstrated by his early support of Allegretti) as sources of his ineffectiveness.
In Brooklyn and even statewide, this source says, Eaton’s poor chairmanship is considered an open secret and even joke.
And although some Brooklyn party leaders may not say so publicly, several are hoping for a real challenge to Eaton’s chairmanship and would quickly bolt from supporting Eaton with the right candidate with some real support. Among Eaton’s own ranks, there has been rampant speculation that District Leader Clorinda Annarummo, who has been engaged privately in a long-standing feud with Republican activist Roy Antoun, may be stepping up to challenge him.
We shall see whether that transpires or not.
As for Mr. Grimm, he has more pressing things to worry about now than this.
“Grimm can’t say much now about local GOP politics,” said a different Brooklyn GOP source. “The election is over. His priorities must focus on his duties in Washington and representing his district. Distractions should not be on his radar.”
That’s largely correct.
But the intrigue surrounding these circumstances is certainly something we have and will continue to monitor.