Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) is leading the charge against threats by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) to help liberals mount primary challenges against moderate Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Being unified means ensuring that Democrats aren’t primarying other sitting Democrats,” Gottheimer told the Washington Post. “Since when is it okay to put you on a Nixonian list? We need to have a big tent in our party, or we won’t keep the House or win the White House.”
Gottheimer and Reps. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair), Andy Kim (D-Marlton) and Jeff Van Drew (D-Middle) were among the 26 Democrats who joined with House Republicans in support of an amendment requiring U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) be notified if an illegal immigrant seeks to buy a gun.
The Washington Post reported earlier today that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “lashed out” at the moderates, including the four New Jerseyans.
“We are either a team or we’re not, and we have to make that decision,” the Post reported Pelosi as saying in a closed-door meeting of the Democratic caucus.
Seven New Jersey Democrats, including freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill), voted against the amendment. Hours after the vote, Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt issued a statement slamming Malinowski.
The controversy follows a Republican amendment on a gun control measure that is one of the cornerstones of the House Democratic agenda during their first 100 days in the majority. The bill mandated background checks for most gun purchases.
Republicans amended the bill to include the ICE requirement. Twenty-six Democratic House members voted for the amendment, including the four New Jerseyans.