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Montvale Mayor Mike Ghassali. Photo by Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe

Ghassali raises $300k for challenge to Gottheimer

Montvale mayor is a mini Human Fundraising Machine

By David Wildstein, October 03 2019 12:26 pm

Montvale Mayor Mike Ghassali has raised an impressive $301,000 in his bid to challenge Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) in New Jersey’s 5th district.

Ghassali entered the race in July and his numbers reflect a full three months as a candidate.

He faces investment banker Frank Pallotta, a self-funder, and former Cresskill Councilman John McCann for the GOP nomination.  Pallotta and McCann have not yet announced their fundraising numbers for the third quarter.

Glen Rock Councilwoman Arati Kreibich, who is challenging Gottheimer in the Democratic primary, announced this week that she has raised over $100,000 during the first two months of her candidacy.

Gottheimer, the Human Fundraising Machine, raised $907,658 during the second quarter of 2019 and has reported $5,683,966 cash-on-hand in his July report to the Federal Election Commission.

Ghassali said in June that he might be suited to take on Gottheimer, the two-term congressman known as the human fundraising machine.  He has a background in logistics and finance and works as the vice president of corporate partnerships for Feed the Children, where he’s raised over $400 million in gift in kind for a program to mitigate child hunger in the United States

Ghassali is up for re-election to a second term as mayor this year.  A two-term Republican councilman, he ran as an independent in 2015 and unseated GOP incumbent Roger Fyfe with 60% of the vote.  No Democrat or independent has filed to run against him.

“I am grateful for the outpouring of support and engagement by people all across the country who are investing in our race to take back the 5th congressional district. Our message is resonating and I am looking forward to continuing this momentum as we work to defeat Josh Gottheimer next November,” said Ghassali.

Gottheimer raised $7,002,979 and spent $2,952,240 during his 2018 campaign and defeated McCann by 41,291 votes in a district almost evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans that Donald Trump carried by one percentage point.

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 outspent Garrett, $4,782,462 to $2,411,570 and outspent him by $400,250.

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