Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sports Figures Carry Political Clout in the Garden State

We were tipped off that each year anoints its Political Power List, which "identifies New Jersey’s 100 most politically influential personalities...we eliminat[ing] anyone who currently holds elected office, as well as the Judiciary."

This year's list included a few prominent sports figures, including two team owners and a former Scarlet Knight/Steeler Linebacker.

2 John Mara
President, New York Giants

#1 on the power list has only lived in New Jersey for three years, and #2 is a New Yorker: John Mara, the President of the Giants football team. Under Mara’s control is nearly $2 billion in construction projects in the Garden State – a new stadium, a corporate headquarters, and a training complex in Florham Park. He has demonstrated considerable success at influencing public policy in North Jersey, ultimately convincing government officials to spend enormous sums of public money on his projects – and without making huge campaign contributions. The political elite love to be around Mara and his team, especially with a Super Bowl championship and a new stadium coming soon.

17 Elnardo Webster
Democratic fundraiser
Not every former NFL player winds up on ESPN. The former Pittsburgh Steeler is Cory Booker’s best friend and ex-law partner, and a favorite of Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy. He’s also a player in Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. With a base of Newark and Hudson County, he’s making a ton of money, accumulating a tremendous number of chits, and if his guys – Booker , Healy and Obama – win, he’ll keep moving up on this list.

29 Jeff Vanderbeek
Owner, New Jersey Devils

The Devils owner opens his arena – no small fete – and is a regular host to New Jersey politicians who pay homage to him at the Prudential Center.

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