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Queens DA candidate Melinda Katz scores big with GOP donors


Queens Borough president Melinda Katz, in Jackson Heights, New York, Tuesday January 22, 2019. (Jesse Ward/for New York Daily News)

The crowded race for Queens district attorney has become a street fight over progressive voters with candidates vying to prove their liberal cred.

But Borough President Melinda Katz stands out of the pack for one uncomfortable fact: several of her big money donors are high-profile Republicans.

Supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis gave $5,000 to Katz’s campaign. The former GOP mayoral candidate is also a donor to the campaign of President Trump, whose policies Katz and other candidates regularly trash.

Paul Massey, another onetime GOP mayoral wannabe who slammed Mayor Bill de Blasio for championing pro-immigrant policies, kicked in $5,000. So did GOP donor Joe Mattone.

Massey declined to comment on his support for Katz and Catsimatidis, whose daughter Andrea is chair of the Manhattan Republican Party, did not respond to request for comment.

Real-estate millionaire Steven Roth, who ponied up $100,000 to the president’s reelection bid, gave $2,500 to Katz’s campaign.

“Singling out a few donors who have given to dozens of other Democrats and progressive causes is a lazy (distraction),” said Grant Fox, a spokesman for Katz. “Much of the support for Melinda’s campaign has come from organized labor and community groups that represent working men and women.”

The GOP money may not mean as much as it seems because many of the donors also frequently donate to Democrats and liberals. For example Catsimatidis gave generously to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and has supported liberal stalwarts like state Attorney General Letitia James and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Still, it’s not a great look for Katz as she seeks to win a strong share of progressive voters in the ever-more-diverse borough.

Katz is a frontrunner in the June 25 Democratic primary to replace longtime District Attorney Richard Brown. Her rivals include Rory Lancman, Gregory Lasak and Tiffany Caban, who is staking out a claim as the most liberal voice in the field.

The Democrats face off in a debate Tuesday night.

Lasak also took $7,600 from Mattone family, who are in the construction business. He also got $5,000 from ex-Sen. Alphonse D’Amato, a conservative Republican whose name is less than a selling point in most of deep blue Queens.

Caban touts her reliance on small donors and grassroots support, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Queens), whose endorsement Caban scored. But she scored a $2,000 gift from Susan Sarandon and $35,000 from Patty Quillin, whose husband is Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

Fox slammed Caban as “hypocritical” for taking cash from the likes of Quillin and billionaire Michael Novogratz.