Sunday, June 4, 2023
    HomePoliticsNew Jersey power broker George Norcross says he's easing back from politics

    New Jersey power broker George Norcross says he’s easing back from politics

    George E. Norcross III, a longtime South Jersey Democratic power broker and insurance executive, says he’s stepping back from politics after several decades leading the state’s most influential political machine.

    From his power base in Camden County, he has helped elect Democrats at the local, state, and federal levels — including his brother, U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross.

    But after devastating political losses in 2021 — including the defeat of state Senate President Steve Sweeney, his childhood friend and longtime political ally, to a little-known Republican — Norcross said in an interview with Politico published Monday that he’s less enthusiastic about politics in the state than he’d previously been.

    “We had a great run for almost 25 years,” said Norcross, who’s chairman of Cooper University Health Care’s board and executive chairman of insurance brokerage Conner Strong & Buckelew. “And now it’s time for others to lead the party.”

    Still, some political observers are skeptical that Norcross will fully retrench. For one thing, Sweeney is expected to run for governor in 2025. Norcross, who does not hold an official position in the state party, told Politico he’d help his friend should a campaign materialize.

    The news also comes amid a reported criminal investigation into development deals in Camden involving millions in tax incentives, several of which have been tied to Norcross.

    Though the specific focus of that probe remains unclear, NJ Advance Media reported last month that the city recently received subpoenas from the state Attorney General’s Office related to awards of state-funded economic development tax credits that had come under intense scrutiny from a governor-appointed task force four years ago.

    That panel found that the 2013 law that established the development program had been written with the help of Norcross’ brother, Philip — a lawyer and lobbyist — and benefited companies affiliated with political insiders, including George Norcross.

    Dan Fee, a spokesperson for Norcross, declined to comment Monday on whether the current investigation had any influence on Norcross’ decision to limit his role in New Jersey politics.

    He said in a statement that Norcross, his brother, Conner Strong, and Cooper University Health Care had not received subpoenas in any probe and he defended the tax incentive program, saying it helped transform Camden “from America’s poorest, most violent city into a place where there is new hope and opportunity.”

    “The award of Economic Opportunity Act incentives in Camden has been repeatedly and exhaustively reviewed, including by a special task force, the state, the Economic Development Authority and the media,” Fee said. “Each and every time, there has been no wrongdoing found.”

    Meanwhile, Norcross, in the Politico interview, credited his decision to step aside solely to changes in the New Jersey political landscape since 2021.

    He said he’s now officially a Florida resident and spends most of his time on Cooper and his insurance business.



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