Warner signs up key New Jersey fundraisers

Just 2% of New Jerseyans picked former Virginia Governor Mark Warner as their first choice for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination in a recent Strategic Vision poll, but Warner has suddenly joined the top tier of contenders for New Jersey’s dollars — and thanks to the new early (February 26) primary — for delegates as well. He did that by securing the services of three key Democratic fundraisers, including John F.X. Graham, the popular and respected insurance company owner who served as Co-Chairman of John Kerry’s 2004 New Jersey campaign organization. Graham (along with Alfred DeCotiis, the head of a politically active North Jersey law firm and a Democratic National Committeeman, and Michael Kempner, who opened a powerful lobbying firm after working as Bob Torricelli’s top fundraiser) brings the virtually unknown Warner instant credibility in New Jersey political circles. Graham’s decision to raise funds for Warner’s political action committee is also a potentially serious blow to Kerry’s ’08 prospects. Graham signed on with Kerry in early 2002 and played a key role in Kerry’s ability to raise $5 million in New Jersey — his fourth highest revenue producing state. This is also a signal that New Jersey’s major Democratic fundraisers won’t necessarily sit on the sidelines and wait for Governor Jon Corzine to pick a horse in the ’08 race. Democratic insiders specualte that Corzine will back New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton if she runs.

Warner signs up key New Jersey fundraisers