Manhattan's a long way from Austin, but Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a local boy in his posse as he blows into town this week.
Orthodox activist Jeff Ballabon has been working to boost the Jewish outreach efforts of the evangelical Perry of Texas as he fights for the GOP presidential nomination. Ballabon, who has worked as a lobbyist and in public relations (most recently for CBS News) is one of the hosts for a lunch fundraiser for Perry Tuesday at the Harvard Club, along with Silicon Valley venture capitalist Isaac Applbaum and others. He also helped recruit speakers for a Perry event at the W Hotel in Manhattan in opposition to the Palestinian statehood push at the U.N.
Ballabon, who is CEO of Innovative Communications Technology, a tech licensing business, also volunteered on the successful campaign of Bob Turner for New York's 9th congressional district and now says he's ready to round up Jewish donors and supporters for Perry. "I recognize in Rick Perry the kind of leader and friend that I saw in [George W.] Bush when he was still governor of Texas," said Ballabon, 48, a resident of West Hempstead, L.I., in an e-mail to Political Insider. "I trust his faith and ideals, including his belief in the greatness of America and his unabashed, unwavering concern for Jewish survival and support for Israel."
With the evolving situation in the Middle East seen galvanzing large numbers of Israel supporters, Jewish and Christian, in support of Republicans (as in the Turner victory) Ballabon said "The Middle East is deteriorating at breakneck speed. Rick Perry will be a steadfast friend in the White House and who who knows that Israel is the solution, not the problem."
New York State Democratic Chair Jay Jacobs, however, didn't exactly cotton to the Perry visit. "At a time when our country should be coming together to focus on crating jobs and finding sensible solutions for getting our economy back on track, Rick Perry has fully embraced the extreme ideology and disastrous policies of the Tea Party and Congressional Republicans," said Jacobs.
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