Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) has endorsed Mike Bloomberg for the Democratic presidential nomination, giving the billionaire former mayor of New York City an influential ally in North Jersey.
“I’m endorsing Mike Bloomberg because we need an experienced, proven leader who has big ideas, will fight to get things done, and knows how to work with — and get votes from – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents,” Gottheimer said. “Democrats need a candidate at the top of the ticket who can win.”
Gottheimer’s endorsement comes before the Bergen County Democratic convention in March, when the state’s largest county could endorse a candidate to run on the organization line.
He is the second New Jersey congressional endorsement for Bloomberg, who won the backing of Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) on earlier this month.
Donald Trump carried the Gottheimer and Sherrill districts in 2016.
Bloomberg cited Gottheimer as an example of the type of candidates Democrats need to swing competitive districts.
“Rep. Gottheimer is proof that with the right candidate, we can bridge political divides and turn red areas blue – and that’s what we need to do in November,” Bloomberg said. “In Congress, he has worked to break gridlock and find bipartisan solutions to the big challenges we face. That’s what I will do as president, and I’m honored to have his support.”
Bloomberg has demonstrated his problem solver skills as an entrepreneur and mayor, Gottheimer says.
“He isn’t afraid to speak his mind, and knows that you’ll never make lasting progress with scorched earth tweets, nasty personal attacks, or an all-or-nothing extremist approach to governing,” Gottheimer said. “It’s about building bridges, uniting people, and finding common ground.”
The two-term Bergen County Democrat had endorsed Cory Booker for president in February 2019, along with the rest of the New Jersey congressional delegation.
Bloomberg came to New Jersey’s 5th district to campaign for Gottheimer in 2018, appearing at an event in Hackensack with the Bergen County Democratic organization.
Gottheimer has close ties to Bloomberg.
His brother-in-law, Bradley Tusk, worked for Bloomberg when he was mayor and managed his 2009 re-election campaign. Tusk is an advisor to the Bloomberg presidential campaign.
“His ideas are bold and visionary, but also reasonable and pragmatic. Americans want someone who isn’t satisfied with partisan inaction, but someone who will sit down, civilly, and get their health care costs down, fix their roads and bridges, look out for their kids, and, with great strength, keep us safe at home and abroad,” Gottheimer said. “With so much at stake for Democrats up and down the ballot, we must unite behind a candidate who can appeal to voters across the spectrum and bring together every part of the country.”
Bloomberg has also won endorsements from Paterson mayor Andre Sayegh and Millville mayor Michael Santiago.
Gottheimer is the most successful House fundraiser in New Jersey political history after raising more than $15 million since becoming a candidate nearly five years ago.
Known as the Human Fundraising Machine, Gottheimer raised $918,357 during the 4th quarter of 2019 and has $7,119,926 cash-on-hand.
He also raised more than $1.8 million for Democratic House candidates so far this cycle.
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.
Gottheimer faces a primary challenge from Arati Kreibich, a Glen Rock councilwoman running as a progressive.