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Assemblyman Bob Auth (R-Old Tappan). Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe.

Auth won’t seek 5th district House seat

GOP assemblyman backs out of race to challenge Gottheimer

By David Wildstein, February 13 2020 2:50 pm

Citing fundraising challenges, Assemblyman Bob Auth (R-Old Tappan) has dropped out of the race for Republican nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 5th district.

“It’s too much money to overcome,” Auth told the New Jersey Globe.  “It’s like a 200-day sprint to the finish line.  I couldn’t see my way to a clear path to victory.”

He has begun making calls to let GOP leaders know he won’t enter the race to take on Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff).

Auth entered the race just two weeks ago.

“I don’t want to be an obstruction to the other guys who have been working so hard,” he said.

Auth said he plans to seek re-election to a fourth term in the State Assembly next year.

Woodcliff Lake mayor Carlos Rendo, the 2017 Republican nominee for Lt. Governor, said he was considering a run for the 39th district Assembly seat if Auth won his House race.

Republicans looking to challenge Gottheimer are Montvale mayor Michael Ghassali, investment banker Frank Pallotta, former Cresskill councilman John McCann, Closter mayor John Glidden, teacher James Baldini, college student Jon Dalrymple, and perennial candidate Hector Castillo.

Former Bergen County GOP secretary Paul Duggan is running as an independent on the Conservative Party line in the fall.

McCann was the Republican nominee in 2018 and lost to Gottheimer by a 56%-43% margin.

Gottheimer has a warchest of $7,119,926 after raising $918,357 during the last three months of 2019.  The human fundraising machine’s total haul for last year was $3,456,996.

Montvale mayor Michael Ghassali has raised $861,900 and has banked $728,588.  Investment banker Frank Pallotta reported raising $510,899 in 2019 and has $382,483 cash-on-hand.  Both are self-financers.

Donald Trump carried New Jersey’s 5th district by one percentage point in 2016– a 4,089-vote plurality.  The district has 6,514 more Democrats than Republicans.

That’s a shift from a GOP registration advantage of 2,370 on Election Day 2016 when Gottheimer, a former Clinton White House speechwriter and Microsoft executive, ousted seven-term Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage) in 2016 by a 51%-47% margin.

This story was updated at 3:02 PM to include comment from Auth.

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