Congressional candidate Alex Law is alleging in the final days of his campaign that incumbent Donald Norcross’ campaign unethically cooperated with county-level officials in pulling out all the stops for his reelection campaign. Posting screenshots of what he claims to be internal memos between his opponent’s staff, the 25 year-old newcomer claims that Norcross’ congressional office also unethically participated in campaign activities.
Law’s Hail Mary posting came on Friday, just days before Norcross and Law go head to head in New Jersey’s Democratic primary tomorrow, June 7.
The documents, which Law says were mailed to him with no return address, lay out a detailed plan of attack for the two scheduled debates between the the two. Though the second debate was abruptly cancelled, the memo’s call for Norcross to “remain calm and hit home the points of Alex being against no fly/no buy, against protecting Israel, his illegal campaign contributions and his frequent exagerations [sic]” largely fits the congressman’s remarks during the first.
“I have no idea who sent it,” Law wrote. “When I opened it, the envelope included internal campaign strategy documents from the Norcross camp. Included in it was evidence of what appears to be illegal activity. If not illegal, certainly immoral and unethical.
“Also: Bill Caruso, a troll who has been spreading lies about me online and has repeatedly said he is not working for the Norcross campaign, is exposed here as clearly part of their inside staff.”
Caruso, former Executive Director of the New Jersey Assembly Majority Office, told PolitickerNJ by phone that he was never approached by the Norcross campaign.
The documents also detail plans to have county officials in the district distribute “constituent information” on Norcross’ record in congress to veterans’ groups, seniors and other key voting blocs, as well as have county Democratic organizations fund ballots that read “the Clinton/Sanders team.”
That effort would follow Norcross’ tack of stretching a personal endorsement from Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19), chairman of Bernie Sanders’ New Jersey campaign, into a claim of being “endorsed by both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns” on mailers.
The documents also suggest that the campaign drafted Dan Keashen, Camden County’s director of public affairs, to craft a response to Law’s unsuccessful lawsuit against the Camden County Clerk for what he argued were opaque and biased bracketing rules.
Representatives for Norcross were not immediately available for comment.
The documents’ release so late in the campaign suggest that the Law camp could face an uphill legal battle if they choose to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission. Rider University political science professor Ben Dworkin doubts that Law would succeed if he went that route.
“The whole point of awarding the line in the primary is so that the county organization backs somebody, one person or the other,” Dworkin said. “They back Hillary Clinton, they’re backing Hillary and not Bernie Sanders. Or vice versa.
“Unless they vote to stay neutral, don’t expect them to stay neutral.”
Law will face tough odds tomorrow as he goes up against the brother of one of the state’s most influential unelected officials (Norcross is the younger brother of insurance executive and Democratic boss George Norcross III). Law’s grassroots campaign has yielded the former IBM consultant an endorsement from the Philadelphia Inquirer and a devoted following, but not the resources to outgun the establishment favorite.
Law has raised just $70,000 against Norcross’ $1.5 million. Norcross recently devoted $235,000 of his own money to his campaign and has spent $100,000 on Philadelphia-area TV spots in recent weeks.