In the first actual vote in the race to pick a challenger for Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) in New Jersey’s 5th district, investment banker Frank Pallotta won the organization line in Passaic County.
Pallotta defeated Montvale mayor Michael Ghassali by a 15 to 4 vote, with Hector Castillo, a Paterson native, receiving two votes.
This represents a setback for former Cresskill councilman John McCann, who won the Passaic line by a 19-4 vote in 2018 against Steve Lonegan. He received no votes tonight.
Three other Republicans are challenging Pallotta and McCann for the Republican nomination: Closter mayor John Glidden, teacher James Baldini, and college student Jon Dalrymple.
McCann lost to Gottheimer by a 56%-43% margin.
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.