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 »
16 YEARS, $70 BILLION DOWN THE DRAIN
Report: U.S. Failed in Training Afghan Forces
15 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

"The U.S. has invested 16 years and more than $70 billion to train Afghan security forces, but the effort has been undermined by poor planning, training and oversight, a government watchdog said in a report Thursday. The 259-page report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or Sigar, offered a critical assessment of one of the top goals of the U.S. effort in Afghanistan—to train local forces so they can secure Afghanistan on their own. The report details how unprepared the U.S. was to train local forces when the war began in 2001 and concludes many of the problems that hampered the early days of the war still exist."

Source:
WARNING ISSUED 2009, STILL PROBLEM
People Terrorist Ties Licensed to Fly, Repair Aircraft
18 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

In 2009, the Federal Aviation Administration warned that individuals with terrorist ties were licensed to fly or repair planes. Years later, it is still a problem. Researcher Mark Schiffer found several known terrorists have FAA licenses when testing an algorithm on public records. Part of the problem is the FAA does not use photos on licenses and does not completely vet information. But they claim pilot certificates are to show the pilot's training level—not security—and pilots have to have government-issued IDs.

Source:
OTHER OFFICIALS ALSO USED PRIVATE ACCOUNTS
Kushner Private Email for WH Business
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Presidential son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has corresponded with other administration officials about White House matters through a private email account set up during the transition last December, part of a larger pattern of Trump administration aides using personal email accounts for government business." His lawyer said Kushner and his colleagues usually forwarded news articles or political commentaries.

Source:
TO TALK ABOUT AGENDAS AND ELECTIONS
Trump to Dine with GOP Donors Tuesday
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"President Trump will meet with major GOP donors for a private dinner on Tuesday in New York as part of a fundraising effort for the Republican National Committee, according to three people briefed on his plans." Trump is expected to talk about the party's agenda on the Hill and the midterm elections.

Source:
VENEZUELA, NORTH KOREA ADDED
White House Announces Enhanced Vetting for Eight Countries
1 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
"President Trump is replacing his controversial travel ban with a targeted list of restrictions that will enhance vetting for nationals from eight countries, senior administration officials announced Sunday. The eight countries on the modified list of countries are Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen." The officials say these states failed to comply with the U.S. information-sharing requirements that aim to make vetting processes stronger.
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