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

Answer: Jersey politics.

National Journal
Scott Bland
Add to Briefcase
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 »
SAYS LEFT WILL GO INTO “MELTDOWN”
Cruz Predicts Another SCOTUS Vacancy “This Summer”
1 hours ago
THE LATEST
HEADS OF DELL, CORNING, WHIRLPOOL AMONG INVITEES
Trump Hosts CEOs Again
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS
AT HEART OF FEDERAL RACKETEERING LAWSUIT
A.T.F. Agents Filled Secret Coffers
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives " used a web of shadowy cigarette sales to funnel tens of millions of dollars into a secret bank account," according to a federal racketeering lawsuit filed by a group of tobacco farmers who claim they were "swindled out of $24 million." The agents allegedly used shipments of snack food disguised as tobacco. The Justice Department is reportedly investigating the matter, though as of now it is unclear how widespread the practice was or if it is still ongoing.

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Many Signatures Has the Petition for Trump’s Tax Returns Received?
3 hours ago
THE ANSWER

More than 1 million, setting a record. More than 100,000 signatures triggers an official White House response.

Source:
TIED TO RUSSIA INVESTIGATION
Sen. Collins Open to Subpoena of Trump’s Tax Returns
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

Sen. Susan Collins, who sits on the Intelligence Committee, "said on Wednesday she's open to using a subpoena to investigate President Donald Trump's tax returns for potential connections to Russia." She said the committee is also open to subpoenaing Trump himself. "This is a counter-intelligence operation in many ways," she said of Russia's interference. "That's what our committee specializes in. We are used to probing in depth in this area."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login