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Republican congressional candidate Frank Pallotta. (Photo: Pallotta for Congress).

Scalise endorses Pallotta in first sign of national Republican interest

Pallotta beat NRCC-preferred candidate in Republican primary

By Joey Fox, August 18 2022 10:13 am

Former investment banker Frank Pallotta’s bid for New Jersey’s 5th congressional district was endorsed today by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), marking the first time that Pallotta’s 2022 campaign has caught the attention of national Republican leaders.

“Taking back the House and putting a check on Joe Biden’s disastrous policies requires firing politically-entrenched [Rep.] Josh Gottheimer – and runs right through New Jersey’s 5th district,” Scalise, the House’s second highest-ranking Republican, said in a statement. “Our Republican conference will benefit tremendously from Frank’s outsider expertise in finance and running a small business, as well as his deep ties to the district.”

In June, Pallotta won a bruising Republican primary against Marine veteran Nick De Gregorio, who was listed as one of the National Republican Campaign Committee’s “on the radar” candidates. After losing to Gottheimer once before in 2020 and struggling with fundraising this time around, Pallotta was viewed as a weaker general election candidate – so much so that Gottheimer spent money to help him win the primary.

National Republicans have largely ignored the 5th district race since Pallotta won, but Scalise’s endorsement is a signal that the tide may be turning.

It remains to be seen, however, whether other Republican leaders like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will follow Scalise in endorsing Pallotta, and whether Pallotta will be added to the NRCC’s list of promising candidates. And given that Pallotta has only around $64,000 on-hand compared to Gottheimer’s $14 million warchest, he’ll need outside intervention (or another round of self-funding) to keep up in the expensive New York City media market.

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