PolitickerNJ.com Winner of the Year 2007: George Norcross

Sonny McCullough said it best in his election night concession speech: “I’d like to congratulate George Norcross.” Sign Up For

Sonny McCullough said it best in his election night concession speech: “I’d like to congratulate George Norcross.”

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Norcross had a very good year for two reasons: he won the two races he was most heavily invested in, and he made tens of millions through the sale of Commerce Bank. The first expands his political power, and the second gives him even greater financial security – something that, in New Jersey, will make him even more powerful.

The General of the South was one of the driving forces behind the elections of Democrats Jeff Van Drew and Jim Whelan to the State Senate. He showed that his money and manpower could oust incumbents – hardly pushovers – in tough races. His ability to raise money – quickly and in large denominations – can stop a team of oxen dead in their tracks. He doesn’t let people tell him no, and gets that few New Jersey politicians have the testicular fortitude to turn him down anyway.

Whelan’s victory, particularly, gives Norcross added clout with the Atlantic City gaming industry. And Asselta’s defeat showed that Norcross’ support is more important than the active endorsement of New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech.

After the election, Norcross quickly endorsed a longtime rival, Richard Codey, for Senate President, and then got his man, Steve Sweeney, elected Senate Majority Leader – evidence that the truly successful know how – and when – to use their power. His friendship with Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts gives him incredible sway in both houses of the New Jersey Legislature. His alliance with Senator Raymond Lesniak gives the Norcross machine an embassy in the north.

Norcross faces new challenges in 2008: he is positioning to pick up a congressional seat the Republicans have held since 1884 – maybe even a second one, if Jeff Van Drew runs— and if Frank Lautenberg changes his mind, is well positioned to help Rob Andrews win a U.S. Senate seat.

 

PolitickerNJ.com Winner of the Year 2007: George Norcross