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New Jersey Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Steinhardt and Warren stay out of Gottheimer race, for now

Warren GOP makes no endorsement in NJ-5 congressional primary

By David Wildstein, February 11 2020 10:36 am

Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt is staying out of the nine-candidate race to pick a Republican opponent for Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), at least for now.

As the Warren County Republican chairman, Steinhardt submitted a list of endorsed candidates to the county clerk that says “the committee makes no designation for United States Congress, 5th district, at this time.

The race against Gottheimer could settle down a bit next month, when Bergen County Republicans hold a convention to award their organization line.  More than half (56%) of the 2018 primary election votes in the 5th came from Bergen County.

Warren makes up 13% of the GOP primary votes in the 5th, while Sussex is 23% and Passaic is 7%.

Republicans looking to challenge Gottheimer are Assemblyman Bob Auth (R-Old Tappan), Montvale mayor Michael Ghassali, investment banker Frank Pallotta, former Cresskill councilman John McCann, Closter mayor John Glidden, teacher James Baldini, college student Jon Dalrymple, former Bergen County GOP secretary Paul Duggan, and perennial candidate Hector Castillo.

McCann was the Republican nominee in 2018 and lost to Gottheimer by a 56%-43% margin.

Gottheimer has a warchest of $7,119,926 after raising $918,357 during the last three months of 2019.  The human fundraising machine’s total haul for last year was $3,456,996.

Montvale mayor Michael Ghassali has raised $861,900 and has banked $728,588.  Investment banker Frank Pallotta reported raising $510,899 in 2019 and has $382,483 cash-on-hand.  Both are self-financers.

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.

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