This year, many prominent black men in America publicly announced for the first time that they are supporting Republicans like President Trump and Congressman Jeff Van Drew. California Congresswoman Maxine Waters said last weekend called them “shameful” and said “We will never, ever forgive them.”
One of them was Atlantic City’s Craig Callaway. Although he reliably turned out the vote for Democrats since the early 1990’s, the entire Democratic Party in America from Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi to Atlantic City’s Mayor Marty Small are now doing everything they can to destroy him and his family.
Craig Callaway is one of the most effective “ballot harvesters” in America. Since the early 1990s, he reliably delivered thousands of votes to the candidates he supports election after election.
Craig Callaway played an important party in changing Atlantic City government to a partisan form that helped Democrats all over the county. He helped Democrats take full control of local governments and school boards in Atlantic City and Pleasantville. His methods are perfectly legal.
Craig Callaway learned from the old “Stand Patters”. These were “precinct captains” and “ward leaders” in Atlantic City who turned out the black vote for Republican Nucky Johnson and his successor Frank “Hap” Farley from the 1920’s to the 1950’s. They inspired the HBO TV series “Boardwalk Empire”.
In that series, Steve Buscemi played Republican political boss “Nucky Thompson”. Michael K Williams played Chalky White, Nucky’s powerful ally in the black community.
As with the old “Stand Patters” for Nucky Johnson, there is nothing fake or fraudulent about the votes Craig Callaway delivers. His voters are real and their votes are real.
Craig Callaway and those who work with him campaign for those votes all year round, not just before Election Day. As with the old “Stand Patters”, they visit each voter in their homes and neighborhoods week after week, month after month, year after year. They listen to their problems and do what they can to help.
When elections come, these voters show their gratitude by supporting whoever Craig Callaway “suggests”.
When Craig Callaway delivered these votes to Democrats to defeat Republicans, Democrats were lavish in their praise for him. They invited him to national seminars so that Democrat campaign workers could learn and apply his Atlantic City methods around the country.
In the 1990’s, Craig Callaway developed and perfected the “knock and drag” technique for in-person voting. Later, Callaway mastered the art of delivering messenger and mail-in paper ballots.
Democrats also paid Craig Callaway and his assistants well. Callaway was usually paid as a consultant. His assistants were usually paid in cash known as “street money” or “walking around money”.
Some money was paid as “expenses” to “get out the vote”. All of these payments were legal and reported. “Expenses” to “get out the vote” were often paid by tax-exempt “charities”.
Craig Callaway, like “Chalky” in “Boardwalk Empire” is certainly rough around the edges. He has had his run-ins with the law.
When Republican Chris Christie was U.S. Attorney in NJ he made a reputation setting up and prosecuting low-level, local public officials for political corruption, while overlooking big power brokers like Democrat George Norcross and Republican Bill Gormley in South Jersey. Christie’s Deputy U.S. Attorneys invested a lot of time and talent to get Craig Callaway.
Callaway resigned his City Council seat in Atlantic City after admitting he took $36,000 in bribes from developers seeking favors. Callaway’s mistake was that he did not take that money legally like so many others in New Jersey. For example, Callaway did not suggest that these developers hire the “right” professionals to get permits and approvals, and then have those “right” professionals hire family members.
In 2006, Craig Callaway was indicted and convicted again. This time, it was for making an undercover sex video of a Democrat politician who asked for Callaway’s help to get elected, and then betrayed him. That politician was a well-known minister who often quoted the Bible in political discussions. That same minister was also known to pick up prostitutes on Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City at night. Callaway wanted to prove that this minister of the Lord was a fraud and hypocrite. Callaway succeeded.
He paid one of those prostitutes to make a video of the minister paying her for sex, and than having sex with her. However, Callaway was mistaken in thinking this was still legal in New Jersey. He knew it was legal in 1997 when a tabloid made a similar video of the husband of TV host Kathy Lee Gifford. However, in 2003, New Jersey adopted new laws NJSA 14-9(1)(c) NJSA and 2C:43-3 which made this a serious crime.
Craig Callaway was then prosecuted and convicted as a second offender in 2007.
Craig Callaway completed his prison time in 2010. Unlike others, he never complained, and never blamed anyone but himself He returned to work at the job he perfected, harvesting votes.
Craig Callaway usually delivers votes to Democrats. However, he likes to support some Republicans. He does this so Democrats appreciate his work, and don’t take him for granted.
Craig Callaway played a big part in helping then Democrat Jeff Van Drew defeat me when I ran as a Republican for Congress in 2018. Democrats from Nancy Pelosi on down had nothing but praise for Callaway then and paid him well.
“Progressive” Democrat Amy Kennedy also paid Craig Callaway well to help her defeat Brigid Callahan Harrison in the Primary to become the Democratic candidate for Congress this year. However, after she won, either she or her husband, Patrick Kennedy, an ex-Congressman from Rhode Island somehow offended Callaway or stiffed him. Callaway responded by agreeing to work for the Republican candidate, Jeff Van Drew.
Van Drew switched parties last year rather than vote to impeach President Trump. Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports show that Van Drew Republicans paid $110,000 to various entities at Craig Callaway’s address. It is not known whether this is the “going rate” previously paid by Democrats. It is also not known how much of this money was kept by Craig Callaway, and how much was paid out as “street money” or “walking around” money to his assistants” and for transportation expenses.
Democrats are not taking this “betrayal” by Craig Callaway lightly. They are doing everything they can to destroy him and his family. If they fail, the end result may be a very good thing for Atlantic City and America. A genuine competitive two party system in black communities. This is something Atlantic City has not seen since the late 1960’s.
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Seth Grossman, Executive Director