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Closter Mayor John Glidden. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Glidden still testing support for NJ-5 House race

Closter mayor will decide before Bergen GOP convention next month

By David Wildstein, February 25 2020 1:58 pm

Closter Mayor John Glidden says he is continuing to explore a run for Congress in New Jersey’s 5th district and will decide sometime in the next few weeks.

Glidden is one of six Republicans seeking to challenge Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff).  He filed his letter of intent to seek the Bergen GOP organization line earlier this month, right at the deadline.

“I got started a little bit late, but I’m serious about it,” he told the New Jersey Globe.  “I’m looking to see what money I can raise and what mayors will support me.”

The Bergen Republican Policy Committee will meet on March 11 to make a recommendation in advance of their March 23 GOP convention.

The leading candidates for the chance to take on Gottheimer have been Montvale mayor Michael Ghassali and investment banker Frank Pallotta.  Assemblyman Bob Auth (R-Old Tappan) dropped out of the race on February 13, just two weeks after he got in.

Glidden says his final decision will come after gauging his support to win the Bergen organization line.

“If I determine it’s too much of a stretch, I’ll pull out and support the Republican nominee,” he said.

Former Cresskill councilman John McCann, teacher James Baldini, college student Jon Dalrymple, and perennial candidate Hector Castillo are also seeking the Republican House nomination.

Glidden was elected mayor in 2014 and re-elected in 2018.  He was unopposed in both races.

The 72-year-old Republican was an Air Force command pilot in the Vietnam War.  He was a councilman for ten years before becoming mayor.

He served as chairman of the Bergen County Utilities Authority from 1992 to 2003, and served as a trustee of Bergen Pines Hospital and the New Jersey Health Research and Educational Trust.  Gov. Thomas Kean appointed him to the Governor’s Commission on Capital Formation for Health Care Facilities in 1985.

Ghassali has raised $861,900 for his House bid, but nearly 70% of that has come from a personal loan to his campaign.   Pallotta reported raising $510,899 in 2019 and has $382,483 cash-on-hand.  Pallotta has loaned $290,000 to his campaign, nearly three-quarters of it in the last three months.

Gottheimer has $7.1 million cash-on-hand after raising $918,357 in the 4th quarter of 2019.

He has raised $15,037,775 since filing as a congressional candidate in March 2015.

Gottheimer faces a Democratic primary challenge from Glen Rock councilwoman Arati Kreibich.

Kreibich brought in just $63,193 in the 4th quarter and has raised $170,025 so far.  She has $105,977 in her warchest.

Donald Trump carried New Jersey’s 5th district by one percentage point in 2016– a 4,089-vote plurality.  The district has 6,514 more Democrats than Republicans.

That’s a shift from a GOP registration advantage of 2,370 on Election Day 2016 when Gottheimer, a former Clinton White House speechwriter and Microsoft executive, ousted seven-term Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage) in 2016 by a 51%-47% margin.

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