“The definition of chutzpah,” Tom Allon tells us, “is when the New York Times tries to decide who’s Jewish and who’s not, and who is a major or minor candidate.”
Expect Allon to use lots of Yiddish and Hebrew words as he ramps up his campaign for mayor — which we are reluctant to characterize for fear of being called chutzpahdik — now that Allon is the only Jewish declared candidate in next year’s race for City Hall. (Manhattan Beep Scott Stringer dropped out.)
In a phone call today reacting to a New York Times report dismissing his chances, Allon made clear that he expects to shamelessly (not his word) extoll his Judaism in a blatant ethnic appeal for the community’s support.
So you’ll no doubt be hearing about the fact that he went to Manhattan Day School for five years, is the son of two Holocaust survivors and has a bunch of relatives in Israel.
He even has a Hebrew last name, though he doesn’t believe he’s related to Gen. Yigal Allon, known for an eponymous plan to partition the West Bank from Israel after the Six-Day War.
“Identity politics helps,” said Allon, who is president and CEO of Manhattan Media. “I already have [appealed to Jews] and have already gained some quiet support, the same way others will try to play identity politics to appeal to people in the Jewish community.” Support for tax credits to aid families that pay for religious school education will be popular, he claims. “I’m a big believer in them,” he said. “At the end of the day when people start focusing on this race and people look at who has the best ideas and management background [they will pick me.]”
Allon says he benefits from being a political novice because “not being well-known means you have no unfavorables.”
Long shot? He says Michael Bloomberg and Barack Obama were once low in the polls, too. “Poll numbers are totally irrelevant this far from an election.” he said. “And fundraising is important but not the end-all and be-all. Six to nine months from now I intend to be one of the last two people standing. I’m trying to be the Republican nominee against a bloodied Democrat, so despite the New York Times coverage there will be a Jewish candidate among the final two.”
Taking a page from Mayor Bloomberg’s playbook, Allon switched to the Republican primary last month after finding weak support among the Democrats. An August Quinnipiac University poll gave him just 1 percent of support in a match-up against Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the frontrunner with 29 percent, and the previous Democrat nominee William Thompson (10 percent), Comptroller John Liu and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (9 percent each).
Allon raised just $273,321 as of his July filing with the Campagn Finance Board. Council Speaker Christine Quinn, by contrast has nearly $6 million in the bank.