Norcross, Cobb win in N.J.'s First District

Democrat Donald Norcross (left) and Republican Garry Cobb will meet in the race for New Jersey's First Congressional District.
Democrat Donald Norcross (left) and Republican Garry Cobb will meet in the race for New Jersey's First Congressional District.
Posted: June 05, 2014

State Sen. Donald Norcross (D., Camden) will face former Philadelphia Eagle, radio personality and Republican Garry Cobb in New Jersey's First Congressional District race this fall.

Both candidates were backed by their parties and expected to win their respective primaries, which drew the interest of five other candidates but very few voters to the polls.

Norcross, brother of South Jersey Democratic power broker and businessman George E. Norcross III, defeated three-term Logan Township Mayor Frank Minor, 59, and Frank C. Broomell Jr., 27, a graduate student and Marine Corps veteran from Sicklerville.

"It was a sizable, significant victory, and we're very happy this first phase of the campaign is over and look forward to victory in the fall," Norcross said over the phone from the Camden County Democratic Committee headquarters in Cherry Hill. He was joined by about 100 supports whom he thanked around 9 p.m.

"As I said to them, the American dream continues, and I'm proud to be a part of it," Norcross said.

Cobb beat small-business owner Claire H. Gustafson, 62, of Collingswood, food-equipment repairman Lee Lucas, 56, of Gibbstown, and real estate professional Gerard McManus, 47, of Berlin.

"It's kind of like the preseason when I was playing with the Eagles, now it's the regular season and that's what the challenge is going to be," Cobb said from Gloucester County Republican headquarters in Sewell. "We know all about the Norcross political machine - they've been able to control things and bring in a lot of money, but we're going to battle them because people want changes."

Cobb said he's confident people will look beyond party lines to a candidate he says they can relate to.

"I was a poor black kid growing up like a lot of the kids in Camden and in other areas, I can relate to the kid eating mayonnaise sandwiches, and I can talk to them about trying to solve some of these problems, mainly getting people back to work," he said.

Norcross or Cobb will fill the seat of Robert E. Andrews, a Democrat who represented the First Congressional District for 13 terms before leaving office earlier this year to take a job with a Philadelphia law firm.

A special election to determine who fills Andrews' seat through January and a regular election to determine who fills the seat for the next term will both be held Nov. 4.

Cobb won his primary despite raising slightly less than his opponent, Gustafson, who raised about $17,000 ($12,600 of it her own), according to campaign finance records as of May 14. Cobb had raised $13,350 as of May 14. Norcross far out-raised his opponents, raking in more than $600,000 beyond the roughly $8,000 that Broomell and Minor had each raised as of May 14.

The district, covering parts of Camden, Burlington, and Gloucester Counties, leans Democratic with nearly 200,000 registered Democrats, about 70,000 registered Republicans and about 200,000 unaffiliated voters.

jterruso@phillynews.com

856-779-3876 @juliaterruso

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