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Fredon Mayor John P. Flora. (Photo: Fredon Township).

Fredon mayor wants to take on Gottheimer in NJ-5

John Flora becomes fourth candidate for Republican nomination in North Jersey district

By David Wildstein, December 09 2021 12:24 pm

Fredon Mayor John P. Flora has announced his bid for the Republican nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 5th district, where three-term Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) is seeing re-election.

“America used to be a place that admired hard work.  Now people like Nancy Pelosi and Josh Gottheimer want to punish hard work and success,” Flora said.  “The political left is undermining the work ethic that made this nation great and that has to be reversed for our nation to prosper.”

Flora must first get through a Republican primary where three other candidates are seeking to take on Gottheimer, the Human Fundraising Machine, in a district that still hasn’t been drawn for the 2022 mid-term election.

Gottheimer had a gargantuan $11 million warchest as of his last Federal Election Commission report nearly three months ago.

Nick De Gregorio, who spent nine years as a U.S. Marine combat infantryman with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, announced his House run in November.  Also seeking the GOP nod: Sussex-Wantage Regional Board of Education President Nick D’Agostino; and investment banker Frank Pallotta, who spent $1.435 million of his own money in a bid to unseat Gottheimer in 2020.

Gottheimer beat Pallotta 31,842 votes, a seven-point victory.

“I am running because middle class people like me and my neighbors are not being represented in Congress,” Flora said.  “Our values are not respected and slowly, but surely, the great nation that is America is slipping away from us,”

Flora cited parental rights in education as a key area of his House bid, saying that “parents have a right to have meaningful input into the school curriculum.”

“What is taught in schools is not the province of education bureaucrats or teachers’ unions,” he said.  “Parents have a right to educational input and total curriculum transparency.”

The owner of a beverage company, Flora was re-elected to a second term on the Fredon Township Committee last month without opposition.  He spent a decade on the local school board before winning municipal office in 2018.

“Local governments are now condoning rioting and looting.  The government is showing more concern for criminals than law abiding people,” he explained.  “I want to go to Congress and fight for respect for law-and-order and stop the virus of lawlessness that is spreading throughout the country.”

The 5th district congressional seat had been held by Republicans for 36 years until Gottheimer, a former speechwriter in the Clinton White House, unseated seven-term Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage) by 14,897 votes, 51%-47%, in 2016.  Donald Trump carried the 5th district by a 48%-47% margin against Hillary Clinton that year.

While Joe Biden carried the 5th district by a 52%-47% margin against Trump in 2020, GOP gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli carried the Gottheimer district by seven points last month, 53%-46%.

Gottheimer was re-elected in 2018 by 41,291 votes, 56%-42%, against Republican John McCann, a former Cresskill councilman. 

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