Obama officially absorbs Clinton’s chief N.J. fundraising arm

WEST ORANGE – A group of onetime Hillary Clinton fundraisers today committed to raising dollars for Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign, according to a release issued by Richard McGrath, spokesman of the Democratic State Committee.

"Democrats in New Jersey are unifying behind Barack Obama in every way under the leadership of Governor Corzine," said party chairman Joe Cryan. "We are supporting him with financial resources, political organization and grass roots activism. We are one party behind one candidate. This commitment from these top fundraisers is another big step towards victory in November."

Those who breakfasted with Gov. Jon Corzine and Cryan at Pal’s Cabin included Obama State Director Tricia Mueller, and Obama Policy Director Mark Alexander. Joining them were about ten former Clinton backers, each of whom pledged to raise $10,000 or more within the next few days, said Cryan.

"We got good commitments to raise money," said Alexander. "The governor was very clear. He was the leader of the Clinton team and proud of what he had done, but proud of where we are now and very clear this is a time to move forward. Chairman Cryan was also very good about insisting on concrete results."

"The meeting was very productive," agreed former Clinton fundraiser Al Decotiis. "We pledged the same commitment to Sen. Obama as we had to Sen. Clinton."

According to McGrath and Decotiis, the general election fundraising effort will include a large-scale, large-donor event with the governor in the fall "to highlight the financial and political strength behind Senator Obama in New Jersey," McGrath said.

The fundraising group at the breakfast meeting included U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch), John Graham, Decotiis, William Harla, Herb Klein, Zenon Christodoulou, Phil Sellinger, Hugh DeFazio and Meryl Frank.

Jenny Yaeger from the Obama Campaign and Karen Kominsky, who ran Hillary Clinton's campaign in New Jersey, also attended the breakfast.

Fundraiser Michael Kempner had already committed to backing Obama.

Obama officially absorbs Clinton’s chief N.J. fundraising arm