George Norcross Named Most Influential in State Politics

The Democratic power broker tops this year's PolitickerNJ power list.

He’s never held public office.

He hasn’t officially held any position within the Camden County Democratic Party in nearly two decades.

But that hasn’t stopped George Norcross III from being named this year’s most powerful non-elected player in New Jersey politics by PolitickerNJ.com.

Norcross, a Cherry Hill resident who's widely considered South Jersey’s most powerful Democratic leader, is no stranger to the political website’s annual power list—he’s been ranked as high as No. 2 in previous years—but his moves over the past 12 months, including becoming part of the Philadelphia Inquirer’s ownership group and his work to reshape the state’s public colleges and universities put him atop the list this year.

“Often called the most influential non-elected individual in the state, Norcross seems to have his hand everywhere,” PolitickerNJ wrote in its summary. “The Senate president [Steve Sweeney] is his childhood friend and he has teamed with the governor on enough initiatives to make some in his party nervous.”

The head of insurance giant Conner Strong and the chair of Cooper Hospital’s board of trustees, Norcross wields plenty of power from behind the scenes, as PolitickerNJ pointed out both this year and in previous years.

With one brother, Donald, the co-chair of the Camden County Democrats, and another, Philip, the head of the politically connected law firm Parker McCay, which has donated around half a million dollars to various candidates in the past decade, mostly Democrats, Norcross can stretch his influence in a hurry.

"Nothing gets done in the majority Democratic caucuses of both houses without first passing muster in the South Jersey family of which Norcross is the undisputed political patriarch," PolitickerNJ wrote in a previous power list.

Of course, that influence hasn’t come without controversy—Norcross is something of a bogeyman among his opponents, an image perhaps most reflected by recordings made more than a decade ago, the infamous Palmyra Tapes, which portray him as a foul-mouthed power broker who bragged of his influence at all levels of government.

While those tapes eventually led to guilty pleas on tax fraud and campaign finance violations by three officials from the engineering firm JCA Associaties, Norcross was never charged with any wrongdoing.

The only thing Norcross wields more than influence is money, generating millions for South Jersey Democrats year after year and blowing away records—like the $4.2 million he helped put together to get Fred Madden elected a state senator over incumbent George Geist back in 2004.

"He is a human fundraising machine," PolitickerNJ wrote.

Darren Gladden December 03, 2012 at 02:10 PM
He is a human SELF CENTER GREEDY CROOK in my mind ........Just care Geogre does not he sucks all your Taxpaying money and take's it down south to his house in FLA .......WAKE UP people
Debi December 03, 2012 at 02:33 PM
This man disgusts me. If it weren't for him, we might actually HAVE a democratic process that's fair to its residents in this county!
luis cabrera December 03, 2012 at 05:35 PM
in Camden County the only way to get to the top is by being a Crook .
True Dat December 03, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Sometimes stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. This man looks like he's right out of Hollywood central casting for "East Coast local government shady political crook".
Occupant December 03, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Strip away all the union backing and the no-bid government insurance deals he has enjoyed for decades and he's just a man. Being on the Cooper Hospital Board doesn't make him a person with "clean hands'. He will never wash that away. He is most revered by the same crooks and cronies that have kept him in this powerful position that he has built for himself. Can you say Camden County Freeholders, The Camden County Democratic Machine, The DRPA, The Gloucester County Freeholders, The Gloucester County Democratic Party. etc. etc. the list goes on. No matter whatever good he might now do, he will always be remembered for his party boss type of influence. He now in the process of building a legacy but all his money won't be able to do that. So sad for you George.
Shirley December 03, 2012 at 09:44 PM
“Often called the most influential non-elected individual in the state, Norcross seems to have his hand everywhere,” What a curiously worded sentence. I'd say that hand is directing Freeholders and the like to put their hands in our pockets. What a curiously worded sentence.
Samantha McCall December 03, 2012 at 11:30 PM
"Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed." Mwai Kibaki
Samantha McCall December 03, 2012 at 11:46 PM
This man is a piece of garbage! He is full of greed, and the biggest bully in New Jersey, and let's not forget Steve Sweeney, who spit shines his shoes!!!!
PJ December 04, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Speak of the devil! Haddonfield is considering buying 19 acres of land. Hmmmm. Who will bond counsel be? It would not be Norcross' brother's firm, would it? Ha ha hah! Lawyers on the board of ed have ties to Norcross and they are not six degrees of separation. More like one.
Maryann Campling December 04, 2012 at 11:00 AM
PJ....I also heard that his brother is the bond counsel for the BOE/Bancroft debacle...is this true?! Camden County politics is one big cesspool and the slime has spilled into Haddonfield.
Occupant December 04, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Don't you just feel the love on this forum for Mr. Norcross...
PJ December 04, 2012 at 04:43 PM
The spending has already begun. Here is a link to the resolution authorizing bond counsel, architect, attorneys, etc., to work on this: http://theretrospect.com/clients/theretrospect/hfboe073112.pdf Note that it also ratified the work done to date. The link at the bottom of my comment opens a PDF document related to the $8,207,000 in bonds already outstanding, which lists the players on any bond deal. That is from January of this year. Oh, btw, if there is a $12,000,000 bond issued to acquire the 19 acres, and there are already $8,207,000 in bonds outstanding, isn't $12,000,000 plus $8,207,000 = $20,207,000? Yes, our BOE should be twenty million dollars in debt. Also, isn't this interesting: http://www.nj.gov/education/legal/ethics/C0700.pdf http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&ved=0CEIQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mcelweequinn.com%2Fsystem%2Ffiles%2Fjob-pdfs%2F2012_haddonfieldboroughboe_pos.pdf&ei=ZR6-UJC-MfOE0QGq84DoBw&usg=AFQjCNHe4cQBeenOZ9_Nv7YEdeBma2j-BQ&sig2=SFLKiOeeY5-9nKZSI_b_EQ
Maryann Campling December 04, 2012 at 09:38 PM
PJ....thanks (!) for the information....but isn't the Boro on the hook for millions, too...I heard $30M...don't know how accurate my source is though. Many people in town have no idea how much debt we are already carrying....something that I believe the proponents of the Bancroft/turf expenditures are counting on.
Samantha McCall December 05, 2012 at 12:13 AM
P J........I just read this link, http://www.nj.gov/education/legal/ethics/C0700.pdf, and I am completely disgusted in what I have read about Norcross! This proves to me that we are no longer in a democracy. We have been dealing with issues like this in West Deptford. We are tired of all of the same shenanigans in our township. They are all thick as thieves. People here in Gloucester County do not realize that George Norcross has crossed over into our county now, he has everyone in his pocket. It is absolutely disgusting, the greed that people have, and here we struggle to make ends meet. We should all band together, and say, enough is enough!
Darren Gladden December 05, 2012 at 01:42 AM
I'm with you Samantha.....Just care , I do
BOHEMIAN GROVE December 05, 2012 at 04:40 PM
MONDAY, AUGUST 08, 2005 UNTOUCHABLES GROUP SENDS LETTER TO U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL August 8, 2005 Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20530-0001 Phone: 202-353-1555 Dear Mr. Attorney General: We write as attorneys, elected officials, former elected officials, law professors and former prosecutors to ask that you take specific and critical measures to investigate and prosecute wide-spread criminal political corruption in the State of New Jersey. We need not recount the massive violations of federal law that have already occurred in New Jersey. The efforts by lobbyists and contractors to bribe politicians at all levels of New Jersey government in return for government favors -- in violation of several federal statutes -- have been the subject of numerous investigative series in virtually every publication in the state as well as in national media outlets like the New York Times, Sixty Minutes and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Academic political scientists of national repute routinely opine that New Jersey is the most politically corrupt state in the nation.
Schu December 05, 2012 at 06:14 PM
We keep re-electing these Norcross puppets, we're the real fools.
tony December 05, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Norcross greedy crooked evil
Samantha McCall December 06, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Is this true? And I am assuming nothing happened.....it is absolutely disgusting! Greed, greed, greed, how do these people even look at themselves in the mirror and like what they see. What goes around, comes around! I can only hope they pay for what they are doing, and I don't care how they pay. I would love to see everyone of them in prison and slip on the soap in the shower!
Herman December 06, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Norcross has damaged and destroyed so many peoples lives through corupt courts and negative manufactured press. Thos is not what a leader should do. He has held the state officials hostage. Those who go against him he punishes and gets his pawns to discredit good people who want to make a difference by purposely causing them to get fired and destroyed by negative forums and websites they control and create then hide under anonymous names that devour the person with hate Norcross is a bully and filled with evil tactics that are designed to be the lowest form of pure hatred
Herman December 06, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Norcross is total Corrupt Leadership
Bohemian Grove December 06, 2012 at 09:47 PM
THE UNTOUCHABLES GROUP Welcome. We are citizens dedicated to ending the tyranny of corruption in American politics. To join call 609-921-0253 or send an e-mail to cyberesquire@aol.com. To contribute: send a check to "The Untouchables Group, 66 Witherspoon Street, Suite 414, Princeton, NJ 08542" To pay by credit or debit card, go to PayPal and click "send money" and send to cyberesquire@aol.com. Contributors sending $15 or more receive "Shakedown: The Fleecing of The Garden State" the classic book on NJ corruption.
Bohemian Grove December 06, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Here we are sevens years later and Mr. Christie is now Governor and he is giving George what he wants but not taking him down. We TRUSTED YOU GOVERNOR, WHY DID YOU LET US DOWN AND SELL US OUT TO THIS CORRUPT BOSS JUST LIKE THE REST OF THE GOVERNORS IN THE PAST. We need help from THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION
True Dat December 06, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Yeah, sounds great. I'm sick and tired of the corrupt money and deafening white noise in NJ politics. So I should give you money so you can make noise. Convince me.
Lauren December 08, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Norcross is a scumball. He's immature and a bully. This is how he runs New Jersey. Enough of this joker, it is time for the people to come together and take this fake, two faced, backstabbing liar down. He has these low level people doing his dirty work. Where's his buddies Frank Mellace and Daniel Hutchison.
William Clarke May 31, 2013 at 01:55 AM
If I helped as many people as this man I would have A billboard with my picture every two blocks.he has helped S.J. Like no one before him!! accentuate the positive!!!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something