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Paul Duggan, who nearly captured the GOP nomination for Bergen County Executive in 2018, announced today that he will run for Congress in New Jersey’s 5th district.
Duggan is the fourth Republican to enter the race to challenge Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), the Human Fundraising Machine, who is seeking his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Investment banker Frank Pallotta, Montvale Mayor Michael Ghassali, and former Cresskill Councilman John McCann are already in the race.
“The GOP establishment trots out the same inadequate candidates every year, who have no ties to the base of the party,” said Duggan. “Now is the time to change that.”
As a candidate for Congress, Duggan calls himself “the only Main Street conservative candidate in Bergen County with proven conservative credentials.”
Duggan came within 123 votes of defeating Bergenfield Mayor Norman Schmelz in the county executive primary last year. He was running on a line with former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, who narrowly lost the congressional primary to McCann.
In the 2018 general election, Duggan endorsed Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Murray Sabrin over Republican Bob Hugin.
In addition to the county executive race, Duggan lost a race for Bergen County Freeholder in 2007 and a primary for State Assembly in the 37th district in 2017.
Duggan, who was born in Ireland, is touting his private sector career as a businessman in his bid to take out Gottheimer.
“I know what it’s like to build a company — to live the American dream but also, to have to defend that vision, daily. The battlegrounds are education, healthcare and policing systems,” said Duggan. “Nothing can be taken for granted. Because our enemies are legion and growing.”