‘I’ve had to make deals that were unsavory … with people whose values are oppositional to good democracy, racial equity…’
(Dan E. Way, Liberty Headlines) Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, considers himself a political pragmatist willing to work across lines.
But a far-left group thinks the presidential candidate should renounce his fundraising alliances and shun party power-brokers.
The liberal HuffPost website reported a flare-up between Booker and the national Working Families Party during a presidential candidate Q&A event the group hosted Tuesday in Las Vegas.
“Tim Merrill, an African American pastor in Camden, NJ, asked Booker whether he would give back the reported $470,000 that he received at a June fundraiser hosted by insurance executive George Norcross and Essex County Executive Joseph ‘Joe D.’ DiVincenzo,” HuffPo reported.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement rents part of a county jail as an immigrant detention center under a deal with DiVincenzo’s administration.
Norcross, who benefits from the state tax incentive program, has fought reforms sought by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy.
Booker disagreed with the fundraising figure cited by Merrill, but his campaign said it did not have an estimate of donations.
HuffPo said its analysis of federal election filings determined donations totaled about $125,000 from the $2,800-per-admission event.
“That seems like a contradiction, that you would associate yourselves with folks who seem not in line with the values that your campaign has sort of lifted up,” the Inquirer quoted Mitchell as saying.
Sue Altman, head of the New Jersey Working Families Party, decried the influence of Democratic Party kingpins. She said for all his attributes, Booker has been unable to transcend their grasp and bankrolling prowess, the Inquirer reported.
“I’d love to see him step back from this and say, ‘You know what? Our system is messed up. I’ve had to make deals that were unsavory … with people whose values are oppositional to good democracy, racial equity,'” Altman said.
Booker, whose support among Democrats is glued in the single digits, took pains to defend his association with Norcross and DiVincenzo.
He said he might not always agree with their positions, but they helped him enact his political strategy when he was mayor of Newark.
He said he had frequent disagreements with former GOP Gov. Chris Christie, but collaborated with him for the good of his constituents.
Some political observers say Booker’s message of cooperation and conciliation won’t attract many angry progressives, who might prefer the Cory Booker who said in July he’d like to punch President Donald Trump.