#2 George Norcross III Conner Strong & Buckelew, Executive Chairman
Some would suggest that those in North Jersey pretend South Jersey is a whole other state. While we may not agree on that, this much is certain: If it were, George Norcross would be the governor, senate president and state supreme court chief justice — and, quite frankly, anything else he wanted to be. The executive chairman of Conner Strong & Buckelew is that powerful. But to limit Norcross' sphere of influence to just the bottom half of the state is unfair and inaccurate.
His touch in business and politics stretches well into the north — and has for some time (just ask Dick Codey). In fact, it's that staying power that made one insider suggest Norcross should be in the top spot on this list. "Is he more powerful than Christie?" the insider asked. "In a measure, he is because he's going to be with us for the long haul."
In so many ways: "Everything and anything comes under Norcross' influence — whether it's the Philly Inquirer (which he now owns) or the breakup of UMDNJ. He's got a Midas touch whether it's in his insurance agency or his political plays," the insider said. And it's all above board. "Nobody has dropped an indictment on him, which is the standard in the state," the source added. "I'm continually amazed at how he always is one move ahead on the chess board that everyone else is playing. He is remarkable in that way."
George Norcross III
Conner Strong & Buckelew
Last Year's Rank: 2