Brian K. Everett: National Power Over Dinner

According to an nj.com article published on July 11th, George Norcross III will be hosting a dinner fundraiser for his brother, Donald Norcross, on August 4th at Caffe Aldo Lamberti in Cherry Hill to raise money for his Congressional Campaign in New Jersey’s First District. Nj.com did not publish the article simply to advertise for the event, but rather it was published because US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will be in attendance. Also, in order to attend, you’ll need to scrounge up $2,600 for dinner.

Given the price of dinner, I wonder why such a fundraising initiative is being attempted, especially while considering the Norcross camp does not seem to need the money. According to ballot results from the June 3rd primary and the finance contribution totals provided byballotpedia.org, one can safely assume that Donald has the election won as it stands now.

Donald received 72.1% of the Democratic vote and his campaign reportedly spent $25,254.11 as of April, with a remaining $353,285.70 left to spend. With a solid $378,000 reported in one period, and roughly $25,000 spent before the primary, I think it’s safe to say that Donald’s campaign has more than enough money to finish out the race.

After all, New Jersey’s First Congressional District is overwhelmingly democratic. Ballotpedia also reports over 25,000 people voting in the Democratic primary, and just over 8,700 for the Republican primary. What may be concerning though to the Norcross brothers, is that their campaign has spent over $25,000 for 18,305 votes, but Garry Cobb, the Republican primary winner, reportedly has not spent a single cent nor raised any money at all for 6,602 votes, roughly 27% of all cast votes.

So, based upon the math, why is a $2,600 fundraiser even happening? My guess is so it filters back into the Camden County Democratic Committee‘s agenda for future elections around the state, and now even around the country. This particular plate is more expensive than some presidential fundraisers from 2012. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama attended several dinners for just $1,000-$2,500 a plate. They both also attended dinners upwards of $30,000 dollars, but that was also a very tight race for the White House, unlike this rather uncompetitive congressional race.

The dinner at Lamberti’s is “invite only”, so most likely only those who can afford it have already been asked to join. However, it still remains a mathematical question as to why such an expensive plate is being offered for this particular campaign. My last guess on the topic would be that the dinner has solely been planned to make cross-country allies with Harry Reid. After all, as the nj.com article states, the former chief of staff of Reid’s campaign had ties with George Norcross and a super PAC that maintained democrats in their legislative seats. Maybe the next time nj.com, or anyone for that matter, writes a story about George Norcross and his fundraising and powerful political strategies, the story won’t just be confined to New Jersey. The Norcross influence has now begun to extend throughout the nation.

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