The state’s largest police union has endorsed Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) for re-election, overcoming a complicated relationship between the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association and the Democratic Party in recent elections.
Gottheimer is so far the only New Jersey Democrat to win the police union endorsement in a state where the PBA backed Donald Trump and several Republican congressional challengers in 2020 and declined endorse Gov. Phil Murphy for re-election last year.
“Congressman Josh Gottheimer has proven to be a fierce, loyal advocate for law enforcement, firefighters, and all first responder,” said Patrick Colligan, the state PBA president. “Josh’s advocacy for first responders does not just help his district, he fights for officers throughout the country. We thank him for his tireless work in Congress to pass his bill, the Invest to Protect Act, to support local law enforcement.”
In 2020, when the 33,000-member PBA supported only Republicans and endorsed opponents to Reps. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown), Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) and Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair), they pointedly stayed out of the 5th district race, with no endorsement going to Gottheimer’s Republican opponent, Frank Pallotta.
So far, Gottheimer has been successful in forging coalitions with support from groups that sometimes back Republicans. That’s deal some tough blows to Pallotta, who watched the pro-business U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other first responders endorse Gottheimer.
Now the three-term Democratic congressman gets to campaign for re-election as the candidate of both business and labor groups.
The New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association., the second-largest police union in the state, endorsed Gottheimer last month. The state’s firefighters union is also supporting Gottheimer’s re-election.
“Far too many don’t recognize that you wake up every morning, put on a vest, kiss your husbands, wives, and children goodbye, and head into a volatile, uncertain, and at times, a very dangerous world. I’m fully committed to funding — not defunding — the training, tools, and support our officers need to fight crime and terror, and protect themselves and our communities,” Gottheimer said. “For me, it always boils down to this: we must have the backs of those who always have our backs.”
Colligan saluted Gottheimer’s willingness to take a leadership role in support of law enforcement and said his bipartisan Invest to Protect bill will help bring millions to boost law enforcement officers across the state. In Congress, Gottheimer has led efforts to bring funds back to New Jersey for police training, body cameras, and mental health resources.
Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program. He cosponsored the Public Safety Officer Pandemic Response Act of 2020 to support first responders impacted by COVID-19, voted for the thin Blue Line Act, and fought to pass the bipartisan Never Forget the Heroes Act, which provides long-overdue support for 9/11 survivors and first responders.
In addition to Colligan, Gottheimer was joined by Bergen County Conference PBA Chairman Vincent Rizzo, PBA Local 83 President Sam Girace, New Milford Council President Randi Duffie, and members of NJ State PBA Local 83 and Local 206 at an endorsement announcement.