Home>Congress>Basaran attacks Spezakis over decade-old donation to GOP House candidate
Alp Basaran is running against Bill Pascrell in the Democratic primary.
Alp Basaran

Basaran attacks Spezakis over decade-old donation to GOP House candidate

Progressive turns to infighting in uphill battle to oust Pascrell

By Nikita Biryukov, April 20 2020 11:10 am

One progressive primary challenger in the ninth congressional district attacked another over a 2010 donation to a Republican House candidate in New York.

Alp Basaran, a Democratic socialist seeking to oust Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), called on a stable of progressive organizations to pull their support of Zina Spezakis over a $789.65 2010 contribution she made to the George Demos, a Republican who unsuccessfully sought a House seat in New York that year.

“#BrandNewCongress, @HammForSenate and @ORNJ_Official must explain why they endorsed a Republican donor from Wall Street and presented her as a progressive democratic socialist in #NJ9,” Basaran said on Twitter.

There is nothing to suggest Spezakis, who did not immediately respond to a 10:29 a.m. call seeking comment, made donations to any other Republican campaigns.

According to records maintained by the Federal Election Commission, the majority of $3,896.13 Spezakis has donated to political campaigns and committees since 2008 went to Democratic organizations and candidates.

She gave $417.08 to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign.

Basaran attacked her for those donations, though the last of them was made months before Clinton conceded the Democratic nod to President Barack Obama.

Over the last 12 years, Spezakis has also given $1,403.40 to Democratic candidates through ActBlue, $1,000 to the pro-Bernie Sanders PAC Brand New Congress, $205 to 2017 Montana House candidate Rob Quist and $81 to her own congressional campaign.

Basaran also pounced on comments Spezakis made during a 2013 TV hit on Fox Business during which the progressive candidate appeared to question whether former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was qualified for the job, which she was then seeking.

“Like any other woman, I don’t want to be given a special advantage simply because of my gender. If I deserve the job and it’s based of the meritocratous analysis, then yes, she should get the job,” Spezakis said. “But the National Organization for Women president was out in the headlines today talking about it, and I read that and I thought ‘let’s talk about the qualifications rather than the gender.’”

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