Harry Reid met by protesters at South Jersey fundraiser

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid attended a $2,600-per-plate fundraiser for state Sen. Donald Norcross (D-5), the brother of power broker George Norcross who is the Democratic congressional nominee seeking to replace former U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews.

Reid’s visit was marred by Tea Party protester James De Paola, an East Brunswick paralegal who attired as a Revolutionary War-era Continental Army soldier, and about 100 other conservative supporters of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Bell and congressional hopeful Garry Cobb.

More than 100 protesters assembled outside a Caffe Aldo Lamberti on Marlton Pike in Cherry Hill on Monday as the Nevada senator made a stop to raise money for New Jersey state Sen. Donald Norcross, who is running for Congress in the 1st District near Philadelphia. Tickets were advertised to Democrats at $2,600 each.

Cobb, Norcross’ Republican opponent, and Bell said New Jersey should elect candidates who are not tied to Reid, a Nevada senator who is often criticized by Republicans.

Protesters had signs with slogans including, “Reid Go Home.”

“It is paramount to show out of touch political elites like Reid and Norcross that the People are awake and unhappy,” said event organizer Tom Crone. “Single party Norcross machine rule has savaged our economy here in South Jersey and the politics of intimidation and retribution of Reid dominate DC. If we accomplish nothing else, we send the message that WE are not afraid. No more complaining in the shadows, now we take the fight to them directly.”

“People coming here today are paying to do business in South Jersey,” said Cobb. “And they’re being so arrogant about it, to just do it in front of everyone.”

Norcross spokesperson Ken Shuttleworth dismissed the critics as a distraction and noted that Democrats have historically drawn big names to fund-raising events.

“This is kind of a tradition with the Camden County Democrats, to have a major policy maker,” said Shuttleworth,  noting that Reid has been friendly with the Norcross family for a long time who spoke at a local event about five years ago.

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