Nick D’Agostino, a Republican candidate for New Jersey’s 5th congressional district, met with a series of conservative figures in Washington, D.C. last week, among them Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-North Carolina), Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Florida), and former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson.
D’Agostino said that he spoke with Cawthorn, Bilirakis, Carson, and several others about his challenger to Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) and in particular found common ground with Cawthorn, who like D’Agostino uses a wheelchair.
According to D’Agostino’s campaign website, only Bilirakis has formally endorsed him.
“This trip to DC has given our candidacy the credibility and momentum that we believe it deserves,” D’Agostino said in a statement. “In order to take back our district from the hands of now radical leftist Josh Gottheimer, it will take more than just our local Republicans to get on board. It will require a National movement.”
D’Agostino, the Sussex-Wantage Regional School District Board of Education president, currently faces 2020 nominee Frank Pallotta in the Republican primary.
A third candidate, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Nick DeGregorio, is also considering a campaign.
The most recent campaign finance reports from the Federal Election Commission list Pallotta as having raised around $90,000 in the first six months of the year, while D’Agostino did not report raising any money at all.
Gottheimer, the Human Fundraising Machine, has a colossal $10 million campaign warchest.
And with congressional redistricting set to begin once the Census Bureau releases local numbers on August 12, there are no assurances that D’Agostino will even live in the same district as his opponents come 2022.
Gottheimer, Pallotta and DeGregorio are from Bergen County, which makes up nearly 75% of the 5th district, while D’Agostino lives far to their west in the district’s more sparsely populated Sussex County portion.