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Rep. Josh Gottheimer, left, and Michael Soliman.

Gottheimer signs Soliman to navigate his statewide political strategy

Democratic strategist has been setting up meetings between Gottheimer and prominent party leaders for the last few months

By David Wildstein, May 08 2023 5:04 am

With Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) eyeing a bid for the 2025 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, the four-term congressman has signed top strategist Michael Soliman as his sherpa to expand relationships with party leaders and elected officials across the state, the New Jersey Globe has confirmed.

Soliman, who has run two successful statewide campaigns and has been U.S. Senator Bob Menendez’s top political advisor for more than a decade, is guiding Gottheimer’s efforts to help elect Democrats to state, county, and local office this year — and for his 2024 re-election bid in New Jersey’s 5th district.

Over the last few months, Soliman has accompanied Gottheimer to meetings with county chairs, legislators, mayors, and other key Democratic insiders.

“I’m very lucky to have Michael advising my congressional campaign and how we can help elect Democrats across the state this November.  That’s my top priority,” said Gottheimer.  “Few strategists can match his record of success in advising and winning campaigns in Jersey — and helping fight for families in our great state.”

Soliman declined to comment on his position, but noted that he’s been part of the Gottheimer political team since 2015, when the former White House speechwriter launched a bid to unseat a seven-term GOP congressman in a district held by Republicans for 36 years.

Paul Juliano, the Bergen County Democratic chairman, confirmed that Soliman is playing a pivotal role in Gottheimer’s bid to establish a rapport with party leadership.  Gottheimer is currently raising money for Senate and Assembly Democrats running in 2023.

While the Democratic primary to succeed term-limited Gov. Phil Murphy is still more than two years away, the governor’s race has already started.  Mayor Steve Fulop announced his candidacy last month; Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair), former Senate President Steve Sweeney, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, and New Jersey Education Association President Sean Spiller are also meeting with party leaders up and down the state.

Soliman runs the New Jersey office of Mercury, one of the New Jersey’s most influential public affairs firms.  He served as Rep. Steve Rothman’s district director and as Menendez’s state director; he ran Menendez’s 2012 and 2018 re-election campaigns.

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