Cruise line donations explained

Following up on a post from earlier this week, I spoke to Democrat Shelley Adler about her campaign against Republican Jon Runyan in South Jersey, and got to ask why it is that Royal Caribbean Cruise line workers have been her biggest collective donors as she campaigns in a South Jersey Congressional contest.

It was a pretty simple explanation: the cruise company's president is an old friend, one she met at Harvard Law School, and he held a fund-raiser on her behalf. The president, Adam Goldstein, also donated to Adler's late husband, John, when he ran for Congress.

"He and his wife are two of my closest friends," Shelley Adler said Thursday. "It's just somebody who knows me very well."

Royal Caribbean employees have given Adler a total of $15,250, more than any other group.

There was nothing that seemed untoward about the donations, only unusual, since political giving is usually dominated by professionals such as doctors and lawyers, labor unions and government contractors.

More details on the fund-raising backing Adler and Runyan are in Wednesday's post. And earlier in the week Inquirer colleague Tom Fitzgerald reported that a conservative group was planning to pour $650,000 into TV attacks on Adler's record as a Cherry Hill councilwoman. So far they have only spent some of that money, but combined with other outside spending, conservative groups have now put $414,000 into the effort to defeat Adler, on top of more than $1 million of campaign cash Runyan has spent. (Adler has spent about $760,000 according to the latest campaign reports, and is not getting outside help).