Pallotta Underwhelmed by De Gregorio

One of those paying attention Wednesday to Nick De Gregorio’s candidacy announcement in CD-5 was Frank Pallotta, last year’s Republican candidate in the district.

Pallotta wasn’t all that impressed.

“It doesn’t surprise me that others are attempting to jump in this race to capitalize on the strong showing we had last year,” Pallotta said in a statement. (His full statement is below).

Pallotta announced a second run for Congress earlier this year, just a few months after losing to incumbent Josh Gottheimer in 2020.

Moreover, Nick D’Agostino, the president of the Sussex-Wantage Regional Board of Education, has said he’s running for Congress as well.

So it looks like we have an interesting primary brewing for next June.

De Gregorio and Pallotta are from Bergen County, which makes up the bulk of CD-5. The more Republican or conservative part of the district is to the west in Warren and Sussex counties.

Kicking off his campaign, De Gregorio, as Republicans are wont to do, linked Gottheimer to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and criticized both for backing “inflationary spending bills with trillion dollar price tags.”

Pallotta doubtless would agree, but someone has to win the GOP nomination before taking on Gottheimer.

The incumbent Democrat got to the House after beating Scott Garrett in 2016.

He won reelection in 2018 by about 41,000 votes and last year, he beat Pallotta by about 32,000.

Gottheimer’s tenure of late certainly has been noticeable.

A member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers caucus, Gottheimer has popped up many times recently on cable TV news shows as a moderate voice regarding the proposed Build Back Better bill, a $1.75 trillion package that includes money for child care, preschool and paid family leave. It also would eliminate the current $10,000 deduction cap on state and local taxes.

Gottheimer’s centrist stance has upset the party’s left wing, some of whom have demonstrated outside his district office and at one point, even in the driveway of his home.

The left may be an annoyance to Gottheimer, but it’s hard to see progressives supporting a Republican in the general election.

But that’s still about a year away.

Here is Pallotta’s statement:

“It certainly doesn’t surprise me that others are attempting to jump in this race to capitalize on the strong showing we had last year.   No one – especially Gottheimer – could have fathomed the damage we ultimately did to him. In fact, according to his own team, Josh already trails me in the polls by 4 points indicating who his real opponent is.

Our campaign was likely the primary reason New Jersey’s Fifth District was named a top target by both parties as early as February of this year. It also wouldn’t surprise me if others plan to jump in to take advantage of all our great work. Our campaign is laser focused on taking back the House next November. I was proud to have secured the GOP nomination in 2020 by an historic 20-point margin, which will undoubtedly set the stage for an even stronger and more aggressive campaign in 2022.”

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