Newcomer Democrat Expected to Win in New Jersey’s 5th District

Gottheimer

Congressman Josh Gottheimer

In the Fifth Congressional district of New Jersey, incumbent Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer is running for re-election against John McCann and expected to win, having been giving a 98.5 percent chance of winning by FiveThirtyEight.com.

Gottheimer won his first term in 2016. He was the first Democrat to represent the district in 84 years. Gottheimer has raised about $4.8 million while his opponent has raised less than $30,000.He has also earned the endorsement of both NJ.com which publishes the Star-Ledger online and NorthJersey.com which publishes the Bergen Record online.

At a recent debate, McCann spent time arguing with the moderator about where he wanted to stand when answering a question. This severely reduced the time he had to actually make his point to the audience.

“You made an arbitrary rule out of no where,” he told her. 

McCann is a hard-line Tea Partier who approves the Republican tax plan that no longer allows homeowners to deduct their state property taxes from their federal income taxes. This in stark contrast to Gottheimer and other Republicans in New Jersey’s congressional delegation who voted against it. McCann is also in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while Gottheimer has worked to stabilize the marketplace it created. In addition, when someone vandalized the home of a Gottheimer supporter with a swastika, McCann tried to blame it on Democratic House leaders.

Gottheimer has worked very hard to cultivate the image of a moderate to the point of refusing to endorse Tom Malinowski, the Democratic candidate in the 7th congressional district who is poised to win on Tuesday. Gottheimer justified his action saying that they are both members of the Problem Solvers Caucus and members agree to not endorse
each other’s their opponents. Gottheimer serves as co-chair of the caucus.

The caucus is made of 48 bipartisan members who seek to bring moderation to the House and enact moderate solutions.

However, in today’s political climate, this goal has become increasingly quixotic.
Its founding was prompted by a group of moderates called No Labels who seemingly have made little progress since their start in the middle of the Obama Administration.
His endorsing of Malinowski likely added to the list of actions that have enraged progressives in the state against Gottheimer, among them voting to cancel regulations set-up by the Dodd-Frank bill to prevent another Great Recession.

Gottheimer was a speechwriter for President Bill Clinton working on the State of the Union before working for Microsoft.

McCann was a Councilman in Cresskill and now serves as Legal Counsel to the New Jersey Sheriffs Association. 

The district had previously been represented by a Republican Scott Garett for 14 years who served on the Financial Services Committee.

However, Garrett’s homophobic views were so pronounced that he lost many financial institutions as donors. He also voted against federal funding for recovery from Hurricane Sandy and health care funding for 9/11 first responders. This made the race then much more competitive than it previously had been. 

Like his predecessor, Gottheimer serves on the Financial Services Committee.

The district is enormous going from Bergen County to Passaic, to Sussex County and Warren County while going around the 11th Congressional district’s Morris County. It has a population of 731,055 in 79 towns. It is exceptionally wealthy with a median household income of $86,213 in contrast to the state’s already high median income of $73,702.