Former investment banker Frank Pallotta has landed Donald Trump’s media consultant to help him oust two-term Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) in New Jersey’s 5th district.
Jamestown Associates’ Larry Weitzner and Barney Keller of Jamestown Associates will be Pallotta’s media consultants. Jamestown is one of the top GOP firms nationally and won eight Reed Awards for their work on the 2018 mid-term elections.
Pallotta’s general consultant is Peter Sheridan, a former Republican State Committee executive director and a longtime aide to former Gov. Chris Christie. Sheridan ran Integrity NJ, a super PAC that tried to unseat U.S. Senator Bob Menendez.
The pollster for the self-funding congressional candidate is McLaughlin & Associates’ Jim McLaughlin, who polled for Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Alex Cucciniello, who has worked on campaigns in New Jersey, will serve as a political advisor.
Pallotta faces Montvale Mayor Michael Ghassali and former Cresskill Councilman John McCann in a fight for the Republican nomination to take on Gottheimer.
He said his 25-year career on Wall Street has prepared him for what he hinted would be a campaign based on fiscal issues.
Now the owner of Steel Curtain Capital, a privately-held mortgage advisory and consumer marketing firm, Pallotta left Goldman Sachs in 1995 – he worked with Jon Corzine, Bob Rubin Hank Paulsen and Steve Mnuchin, but not with Gov. Phil Murphy – and retired from Morgan Stanley in 2008.
Pallotta comes with some political lineage: his cousin is Robert Pallotta, a former Palisades Park mayor and Bergen County freeholder.
Gottheimer, known as the Human Fundraising Machine, had a total haul of $830,063 during the first three months of 2019, a massive amount of money for a two-term congressman who just won re-election by fourteen points. He reported a warchest of $4.91 million.
He raised $7,002,979 and spent $2,952,240 during his 2018 campaign, according to post-election reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission. Gottheimer defeated McCann by 41,291 votes in a district almost evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans that Donald Trump carried by one percentage point.
The Bergen County Democrat has not yet reported his second quarter 2019 fundraising numbers.
Gottheimer ousted Rep. Scott Garrett in 2016 by a 51%-47% margin in a district that Donald Trump won by one percentage point – a 4,089-vote plurality. Gottheimer, a former Clinton White House speechwriter, spent nearly $4.7 million –plus an additional $5.2 million spent by outside groups — to beat Garrett, who spent $4.2 million.