Grossman: Dems did me favor with early campaign attacks

{child_byline}JOHN DeROSIER

Staff Writer

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In the three weeks since his Republican primary victory in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District, Seth Grossman has stirred controversy that has landed him front and center on national publications and newscasts.

From being depicted as a caveman on the front of the Philadelphia Daily News to receiving hateful emails, Grossman said Sunday this campaign is unlike anything he has ever experienced in his entire life.

But that won’t take him off his message, he said. In fact, Grossman believes the early attacks against him with five months to go before the election will help him in the long run.

“These attacks are coming from people in Washington, D.C., where they don’t know anything about South Jersey,” Grossman said Sunday. “In a way I think they did me a favor, because I have five months to talk about these things and all the important issues. They won’t have any ammo in October.”

In the last three weeks, a video of Grossman saying diversity is “a bunch of crap and un-American” surfaced online from a Democratic Super-PAC that made national headlines.

Grossman countered the video by saying he meant diversity is “not a virtue” and political parties pick candidates based off their race or gender and not merits and qualifications.

This weekend, a story appeared on CNN featuring 21 things Grossman posted on social media over the past five years that included him saying Kwanzaa is a “phony holiday invented in 1960s by black racists to weaken and divide Americans during a Christmas season of joy and good will.”

Atlantic County Democrats have called on local Republicans to denounce Grossman.

Mike Suleiman, chairman of the Atlantic County Democratic Committee, said the party hasn’t learned from the controversy that surrounded former Atlantic County Freeholder John Carman, who also made national headlines after sharing a Facebook post asking if the women from the Women’s March on Washington would be home in time to cook dinner.

“It was the job of the county chairmen to weed out these whack-job candidates (in the primary) and they didn’t do that ... so now they’re stuck with him,” Suleiman said.”Seth Grossman makes his own ammo because his rhetoric is incendiary and borderline racist. ... The old phrase ‘all publicity is good publicity’ doesn’t fly in politics.”

Keith Davis, chairman of the Atlantic County Republicans, said Grossman is getting more attention now than he he otherwise would have, so it could play to his advantage.

“But I’m not going to denounce Seth until Mike Suleiman denounces Jeff Van Drew’s positions on guns, gay marriage, and the environment,” Davis said.

Grossman, meanwhile, said he has no plans on changing his message.

“My opponents have a right to criticize me, but I stand by what I said,” Grossman said. “I said things that may come across as insensitive, but I mean them in good faith and say them to bring awareness and start a conversation about important issues.”

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Contact: 609-272-7260 JDeRosier@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressDeRosier

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