Former Vice President Mike Pence waded into New Jersey’s House races for the first time this cycle today, endorsing Republican Frank Pallotta’s campaign against Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) in the 5th congressional district.
Though late in the cycle, the endorsement is a notable one for Pallotta, who has struggled to get full-throated support from national Republicans. The National Republican Congressional Committee supported a different Republican in the June primary, and Republican PACs haven’t spent anything to boost Pallotta’s underfunded general election campaign.
Until today, neither Pence nor former President Donald Trump had made any endorsements in New Jersey, including for two Republicans – former State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield) in the 7th district and businessman Bob Healey in the 3rd district – with better chances of winning than Pallotta.
Gottheimer, who is widely considered the favorite for re-election, brought his own White House star power to New Jersey over the weekend. The congressman hosted a rally in Paramus on Saturday with former President Bill Clinton, whom he worked for as a speechwriter early in his career.