Sussex County Republican Chairman Jerry Scanlan has endorsed Frank Pallotta for Congress in New Jersey’s 5th district, sharply criticizing the candidacy of another candidate, John McCann.
Scanlan has also asked Bergen County Republicans to have an open primary for Congress, using the same system as Sussex.
“There is nothing wrong with allowing the Republican voters of a district to make up their own minds,” he said.
Pallotta, one of the candidates seeking the nomination to challenge Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), has already won the endorsement of the Passaic GOP. McCann, a former Cresskill councilman who lost a race to Gottheimer in 2018, is seeking a rematch.
“A Republican cannot be elected in CD-5 without winning Sussex County,” Scanlan said. “In 2018, we won for Bergen County’s endorsed candidate, John McCann, over Democrat incumbent Josh Gottheimer. In contrast, McCann won only six towns in Bergen County.”
Scanlan said that only Pallotta and Montvale mayor Michael Ghassali have raised enough money to compete with Gottheimer.
“McCann remains mired in a debt of over half a million dollars from his 2018 race,” Scanlan said. “He will need to raise what Ghassali and Pallotta have just to break even. He hasn’t shown that he is able to, this time around. “
Scanlan said he picked Pallotta because of his willingness to support the Sussex GOP on their bid for a referendum last year to ban Gov. Phil Murphy’s sanctuary state policies “and the porous borders that are now evidently so foolish in the midst of a global pandemic.”
“Frank Pallotta stepped up and helped us. He ran ads supporting our ballot question and we won,” Scanlan said. “McCann and Ghassali could have helped but they didn’t. What Frank did for us meant a lot and we are endorsing him.
Jill Space, the Sussex GOP vice chair and Republican state committeewoman, also endorsed Pallotta.