What to Know
- Grossman is the Republican candidate for the 2nd congressional district in N.J. He faces an uphill battle against Democrat Jeff Van Drew.
- Van Drew had more than $400,000 in his campaign war chest, compared to Grossman's $10,800, as of May 16. The next reports are due July 15.
- National Republicans this week dropped support for Grossman following a new report of his online promotion of racist posts years ago.
Seth Grossman, a longtime criminal lawyer from Atlantic City and Republican candidate for South Jersey's 2nd congressional district, is unapologetic over the newest example in a string of unsettling social media comments about blacks and Islam.
"I'm getting barraged with hate mail and hate messages. But when you check the addresses, most of it is coming from hundreds of miles away from the district, most of it from California or even Canada," Grossman told NBC10 in an interview Wednesday.Grossman said. "Most people I talk to in the district know I bring up these issues because I want to solve the problem."
His self-defense came two days after an article posted by Media Matters, a liberal watchdog group, showed that Grossman in the past promoted two white nationalist groups' posts on social media. In one post he shared, an opinion piece reportedly described black people as "a threat to all who cross their paths."
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He defended his record as a longtime attorney serving minority communities in Atlantic City and Pleasantville.
"I want to make minorities more prosperous and independent, and you can't fix a problem without talking about it," he said.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, the super PAC that supports House candidates' bids, said through its chairman that Grossman would no longer be endorsed. In a particularly stinging criticism, NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers asked Grossman "to reconsider his candidacy."
"The people of New Jersey's 2nd District deserve an inclusive Republican candidate who will be a trusted conservative voice in Congress," Stivers said Tuesday in a statement.
Grossman said he's not dropping out of the race, which pits him against Democratic state Sen. Jeff Van Drew in the November general election. The two face off for a seat long held by retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo. The coveted open seat is seen as one of numerous crucial swing districts that will determine which political party controls Congress next year.
Van Drew, a dentist from Dennis Township, was already the favorite before national Republicans publicly pulled support, according to political observers. The Democrat also held a 40-to-1 advantage in cash on hand at the end of the last campaign finance cycle that ended in May. Van Drew had $416,000 compared to Grossman's $10,800.
Grossman told NBC10 that he has raised $55,000 since May. The next campaign finance reports are due July 15.
Grossman, who previously served as an Atlantic City councilman and Atlantic County freeholder, said neither support nor money would stop his campaign from competing for the House seat.
"In a way, nothing has changed ever since I became a candidate. I felt the voters were with me but the national and state organizations were embarrassed by me," he said. "Because I was speaking talking about issues that the voters want to talk about and not trying to avoid anything controversial."
He said his path to victory is through Trump supporters and winning over the very minority voters disparaged in social media posts he has shared.
"When you take two dozens posts out of maybe 6,000 posts or shares over a 10-year period, it looks inflammatory, which is why they do it," Grossman said. "But if you look at each post and the news I was reacting to, it’s just reasonable commonsense comments."