Republican Frank Pallotta slammed Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) for winning the support of a prominent gun safety group, saying Congress needs real solutions like one proposed by Assemblyman Parker Space (R-Wantage).
The move highlights two very different views on guns in a matchup for New Jersey’s 5th district – one of three congressional districts in the state represented by a Democrat but carried in 2016 by President Donald Trump.
Pallotta’s criticism follows the endorsement of Gottheimer by Everytown for Gun Safety, a group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Gottheimer had endorsed Bloomberg for the Democratic presidential nomination earlier this year.
“Once again, Josh Gottheimer is putting the approval and financial backing of D.C. special interest groups that shred the rights of law-abiding gun owners above the interests of his district,” said Pallotta. “Clearly, in accepting help from Michael Bloomberg’s group, Josh also feels that civil liberties are optional. Instead of focusing on commonsense solutions that would protect our schools, houses of worship, and sports and entertainment facilities, Josh sides with gun confiscators who have no regard for the Second Amendment or due process.”
A former investment banker, Pallotta is one of five Republicans seeking the chance to take on Gottheimer in November. He has the organization line in Passaic County and the backing of the Sussex County GOP chairman.
According to Pallotta, Republicans have a better plan to address gun safety.
He cited legislation sponsored by State Sen. Steve Oroho (R-Franklin), Assemblyman Hal Wirths (R-Wantage) and Space to fortify school classrooms from domestic terrorists, and a GOP bill prioritizing domestic abuse victims’ access to lawful firearms.
“Instead of looking for D.C. cash, Josh Gottheimer should listen to his district, which strongly supports the Second Amendment, and local leaders with solutions that would make a real difference,” Pallotta said.
Pallotta’s statement could benefit Gottheimer’s campaign as well as his own bid in the GOP primary.
Glen Rock Councilwoman Arati Kreibich is challenging Gottheimer from the left in the July 7 primary election and Pallotta’s criticism of Gottheimer’s support on gun control issues won’t necessarily hurt the incumbent in his bid for re-election to a third term.
Trump won Gottheimer’s district one percentage point, 49%-48%, in 2016. In the same election, Gottheimer ousted seven-term Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage) by a 51%-47% margin.
Everytown for Gun Safety has also endorsed three freshmen Democrats seeking re-election to the House from New Jersey: Andy Kim (D-Moorestown), Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair).
Trump carried Kim’s district by six points and Sherrill’s by one point; Hillary Clinton won Malinowski’s district by one point four years ago.