Some Republican insiders want Tim Luing, one of the owners of Berkeley College, to challenge Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) in New Jersey’s 5th district in 2020.
The 50-year-old Saddle River businessman would have the ability to self-finance a campaign against Gottheimer, a two-term Democrat known as the “human fundraising machine.”
Right now, the idea of a Luing campaign is only speculative, according to three sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
Luing is already familiar to national Republicans: he serves on the steering committee of the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee and raised over $250,000 for GOP candidates last year.
Republicans says that Luing would make a strong candidate.
His family business, Berkeley College, a for-profit school with eight New Jersey campuses and nearly 10,000 students, is highly-regarded as an economic development engine for North Jersey. The school has been recognized for their diversity.
Luing is also involved in his community, coaching soccer and baseball and chairing the Literacy Committee for the Workforce Investment Board of Passaic County. His wife is president of her synagogue in Washington Township.
His private sector experience also includes Luing Properties, which owns over a million square feet of commercial real estate. Luing is on the board of his local Republican club.
Luing has contributed more than $480,000 politicians – mostly to Republicans, but also to some Democrats.
He gave $50,000 to the NRCC and $10,000 to the Republican State Committee in 2018, but also contributed $2,700 to Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden) and $1,000 to Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis).
Luing contributed to Chris Christie’s 2016 presidential campaign ($2,700) and to his Leadership Matters for American PAC ($5,000). In 2014, he contributed $15,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and $1,500 to Cory Booker’s U.S. Senate campaign. He sent $1,000 to Barack Obama in 2008.
Gottheimer has $4.1 million cash-on-hand as he prepares to seek re-election in a district almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. Donald Trump carried the 5th in the 2016 presidential election.
A former Clinton White House speechwriter and Microsoft executive, Gottheimer ousted seven-term Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage) in 2016 by a 51%-47% margin. He was re-elected last year by 41,291 votes (56%-42%).
Luing did not respond to numerous calls seeking comment.