It was another fundraising quarter of Brobdingnagian proportions for the Human Fundraising Machine, with Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) raising a behemoth $1,125,737 during the last three months of 2021.
The three-term Democratic congressman now heads into his re-election campaign armed with a leviathan $12,012,196 cash-on-hand, and a district that is markedly more Democratic than the one he flipped against a seven-term Republican in 2016.
Gottheimer has raised an imposing $4,268,457 so far this cycle, and an lumbering $22,775,009 since launching his bid to unseat Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage) in March 2015.
But Gottheimer’s warchest is not scaring away Republicans who think the race is winnable in President Joe Biden’s mid-term election when the party in the White House traditionally loses House seats. A national Monmouth University poll released on Wednesday has Biden’s job approvals upside-down at 39%-54%.
Three Republicans want to take on Gottheimer in New Jersey’s 5th district: Nick De Gregorio, a U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan; businessman Fred Schneiderman; and Frank Pallotta, an investment banker who lost to Gottheimer in 2020.
De Gregorio, who entered the race in November, had a strong first few months as a candidate, raising $403,000; he has $375,000 banked. Pallotta announced his bid for a rematch in April and had $110,760 cash-on-hand as of September 30. He has not yet filed his fourth quarter fundraising numbers.
Schneiderman entered the race this month; his first Federal Election Commission filing is due in April. He has hired former Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway to help run his campaign.
Gottheimer emerged as a national figure in 2021 when he led a group of House centrists pushed for passage of an infrastructure bill that forced a budget showdown last summer, even at the expense of a larger spending plan pushed by progressives.
That has put a target on his back, but with 68 days left until the April 4 filing deadline, he remains unopposed in the Democratic primary.
In 2020, he faced a primary challenge from the left against Arati Kreibich, a Glen Rock councilwoman. He won by 25,988 votes, 66.5% to 33.5%.
At this point two years ago, Kreibich had raised $170,025 since entering the race in July 2019.
In the general election, Gottheimer defeated Pallotta by 31,842 votes, 53%-46%. Pallotta spent more than $1.4 million of his own money on his campaign.
Republicans held the 5th district seat for 36 years until Gottheimer, a former Clinton White House speechwriter, took out Garrett in a district that Donald Trump carried.
Last November, Gottheimer said that he has also raised about $2.9 million for Democratic candidates seeking federal, state and local office.