Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stopped in North Jersey on Thursday night and left having raised about $350,000 for her campaign from a crowd that included some of the state’s most powerful Democrats.
Clinton, a former Secretary of State, was hosted by Michael Kempner and his wife, Jacqueline, at their Cresskill home. Michael Kempner heads East Rutherford-based MWW Public Relations, one of the largest marketing and public relations firms in the state, and was a top fundraiser for Clinton’s failed 2008 campaign for the White House. The Kempners also hosted President Obama in 2010 and Vice President Joseph Biden in 2011.
On Thursday night, Clinton mingled with the crowd and posed for photos with about 50 guests. She then spoke for about 20 to 30 minutes, touching on a wide range of issues - education, the environment, drug addiction, transportation and issues affecting women and children. She also took a shot at Republicans, telling donors and guests that the GOP is “going from the party of Lincoln to the party of Trump,” Kempner said, referring to the businessman-cum-Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.
She did not touch on the controversy over her use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State, an issue that has dogged her campaign for months and has been seized upon by Governor Christie, who is running for the Republican nomination. Christie, a former federal prosecutor, has said he would relish the opportunity to cross examine Clinton on her email use. The same night Clinton was in Cresskill, Christie was on Fox News telling host Sean Hannity, “I think she's going to have some real serious issues regarding prosecution potential.” But Kempner said many Clinton supporters don’t see “much credence to the story.”
Tickets to the event were $2,700 a person. A VIP reception was held for donors who rounded up $13,500 or more.
Among those in attendance were Josh Gottheimer, a former Clinton speechwriter and Microsoft executive from Wyckoff who is considering a run for the Fifth Congressional District in 2016; Bergen County Democratic chairman Lou Stellato; the state Senate’s majority leader, Loretta Weinberg; and Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes. Englewood Mayor Frank Huttle and his wife, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, were also there and served on the host committee.
“I told her, as she often says, she has the talent to be president and we will give her the opportunity to finally break the glass ceiling, which she has already put 18 million cracks in,” Assemblywoman Huttle said.
Record Columnist Charles Stile contributed.