The shouting grew louder as the meeting wore on, echoing across Camden City Council's art deco-style chambers. From the audience came cries of "Norcross nephew!" and "Because George says!" The proposed takeover of the city's Police Department by the Camden County government had brought out a large crowd, and as Council members tried to explain their position this month, the hecklers jumped on them. But their real target was not even in the room:
George E. Norcross III, an insurance executive and chairman of Cooper University Hospital. He holds no elected office, but is referred to by a former governor as the second most powerful figure in New Jersey politics. Mostly out of public view, Norcross has in the last two decades created a Democratic Party empire in South Jersey that has become the stuff of legend, a political machine that has made or destroyed many an elected official's career.
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