Why Is Harry Reid Raising Money for a House Candidate in a Safe Seat?

Answer: Jersey politics.

National Journal
Scott Bland
July 15, 2014, 6:51 p.m.

Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id’s of­fice is in jeop­ardy this year. That means he’s spend­ing hours upon hours on fun­drais­ing and strategy ses­sions with Demo­crat­ic can­did­ates and the Demo­crat­ic Sen­at­ori­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee, all with an eye to­ward keep­ing his party in com­mand.

So why, then, is Re­id head­ing to New Jer­sey next month to raise money for a House can­did­ate — in a safe Demo­crat­ic seat, no less?

The Star-Ledger in New Jer­sey re­por­ted that Re­id will be a star guest at an Aug. 4 fun­draiser for Don­ald Nor­cross, a Demo­crat­ic state sen­at­or run­ning for the seat va­cated when Rep. Rob An­drews resigned earli­er this year. Nor­cross is ex­pec­ted to win eas­ily. But he isn’t your av­er­age first-time con­gres­sion­al can­did­ate: Nor­cross’s broth­er George is South Jer­sey’s ma­jor Demo­crat­ic power broker, a deep-pock­eted fun­draiser, and a mem­ber of the Demo­crat­ic Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee.

Re­id and ele­ments of his polit­ic­al op­er­a­tion have a long-stand­ing re­la­tion­ship with the Nor­crosses, ex­plain­ing the ma­jor­ity lead­er’s brief mid­sum­mer de­tour from Demo­crats’ all-con­sum­ing ef­forts to keep the Sen­ate this year. “George has stepped up to help Sen­at­or Re­id a few times over the years, and I think this is re­cip­roc­al loy­alty,” said one source close to the South Jer­sey Demo­crat­ic Party ap­par­at­us.

Re­id’s of­fice did not re­spond to ques­tions about the fun­draiser.

George Nor­cross, a wealthy in­sur­ance ex­ec­ut­ive, donated to Re­id’s Sen­ate cam­paign in 2003, ac­cord­ing to fed­er­al re­cords. But their re­la­tion­ship goes bey­ond those $2,000. The two have a friend­ship go­ing back 10 or 15 years, ac­cord­ing to mul­tiple sources, and Re­id has helped Nor­cross’s loc­al party on sev­er­al oc­ca­sions. Ken Shut­tle­worth, a spokes­man for Don­ald Nor­cross’s cam­paign, re­called Re­id ap­pear­ing at a Cam­den County Demo­crat­ic Com­mit­tee fun­draiser some­time between 2007 and 2010. (Don­ald Nor­cross is a co­chair­man of the county party.)

Shut­tle­worth said such celebrity speak­ers — such as Al Gore — are not un­com­mon at those events but that Re­id has fostered a par­tic­u­lar con­nec­tion with his hosts from that oc­ca­sion. “There is a good feel­ing and con­nec­tion between George Nor­cross and Don­ald and Harry Re­id,” Shut­tle­worth said.

Last year’s New Jer­sey elec­tions also high­light a con­nec­tion between Re­id’s polit­ic­al ad­visers and Nor­cross. Former aides to Re­id run a net­work of power­ful su­per PACs; the biggest, Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity PAC, is Demo­crats’ prin­cip­al con­duit for out­side money in Sen­ate races. But some of the same people are also in­volved in boost­ing Demo­crat­ic state le­gis­lat­ors via dif­fer­ent groups.

One of them — the stodgily named Fund for Jobs, Growth, and Se­cur­ity — helped New Jer­sey Demo­crats keep con­trol of their state Le­gis­lature in 2013, even as Re­pub­lic­an Gov. Chris Christie won reelec­tion in a land­slide. Susan Mc­Cue, a New Jer­sey nat­ive and a former chief of staff to Re­id who cofoun­ded Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity PAC, ran the New Jer­sey group. JB Po­er­sch, an­oth­er Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity cofounder who ran the Demo­crat­ic Sen­at­ori­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee for three elec­tion cycles while Re­id led the party, was the group’s treas­urer. And George Nor­cross helped raise funds for it, ac­cord­ing to mul­tiple re­ports.

The New York­er‘s April pro­file of Christie out­lined Nor­cross’s polit­ic­al power in a lengthy aside. Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats alike said that Nor­cross con­trols the state Le­gis­lature.

In oth­er words, this is no nor­mal safe-seat House fun­draiser — and it’s not just be­cause the Sen­ate ma­jor­ity lead­er will be in at­tend­ance.

What We're Following See More »
TAKING A LONG VIEW TO SOUTHERN STATES
In Dropout Speech, Santorum Endorses Rubio
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

As expected after earlier reports on Wednesday, Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid. But less expected: he threw his support to Marco Rubio. After noting he spoke with Rubio the day before for an hour, he said, “Someone who has a real understanding of the threat of ISIS, real understanding of the threat of fundamentalist Islam, and has experience, one of the things I wanted was someone who has experience in this area, and that’s why we decided to support Marco Rubio.” It doesn’t figure to help Rubio much in New Hampshire, but the Santorum nod could pay dividends down the road in southern states.

Source:
‘PITTING PEOPLE AGAINST EACH OTHER’
Rubio, Trump Question Obama’s Mosque Visit
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama’s decision to visit a mosque in Baltimore today was never going to be completely uncontroversial. And Donald Trump and Marco Rubio proved it. “Maybe he feels comfortable there,” Trump told interviewer Greta van Susteren on Fox News. “There are a lot of places he can go, and he chose a mosque.” And in New Hampshire, Rubio said of Obama, “Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.”

Source:
THE TIME IS NOW, TED
Cruz Must Max Out on Evangelical Support through Early March
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

Source:
CHRISTIE, BUSH TRYING TO TAKE HIM DOWN
Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

Source:
7 REPUBLICANS ON STAGE
Carly Fiorina Will Not Be Allowed to Debate on Saturday
2 days ago
THE LATEST

ABC News has announced the criteria for Saturday’s Republican debate, and that means Carly Fiorina won’t be a part of it. The network is demanding candidates have “a top-three finish in Iowa, a top-six standing in an average of recent New Hampshire polls or a top-six placement in national polls in order for candidates to qualify.” And there will be no “happy hour” undercard debate this time. “So that means no Fiorina vs. Jim Gilmore showdown earlier in the evening for the most ardent of campaign 2016 junkies.

Source:
×