Two years ago this summer, Black Lives Matter protests ensued throughout New Jersey and the nation. The anti-police sentiment arising from the murder of George Floyd soon gave rise to calls to “Defund the Police.”
Slashing money for local police was never a mainstream Democratic position, but in politics nuance often gets lost. Republican congressional candidates in 2020 sought to tar all Dems with the “Defund the Police” position – and with some success. Despite Donald Trump’s loss, Republicans gained seats in the House.
Now as the 2022 midterms loom, Democrats are doing all they can to move away from any calls to “Defund the Police.”
Which brings us to Josh Gottheimer, who is again trying to fend off a challenge from Republican Frank Pallotta.
Gottheimer beat Pallotta in 2020 by about 32,000 votes and the district (the 5th) has grown more Democratic after redistricting.
On the other hand, Pallotta reasons that congressional candidates often do better the second time around. Democrats are also on the ropes because of Joe Biden’s low approval ratings and high inflation.
Here in CD-5, and across the state, you can expect Republicans to continue claiming Democrats are “anti-police.”
That makes a Gottheimer campaign event this week noteworthy.
The incumbent was endorsed by two police groups – the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association and the National Troopers Coalition. The organizations represent 1,800 N.J state troopers and 42,000 troopers nationwide. Wayne Blanchard, the president of the state troopers’ association, said the following:
“Since his first day in office, Congressman Josh Gottheimer has been a tireless, bipartisan advocate for law enforcement and our families, an important partner who the 1,800 men and women of the State Troopers Association can always count on to fight for us.”
Blanchard cited Gottheimer’s support for the Invest to Protect Act, COPS grants, funding for bulletproof vests and the Thin Blue Line Act.
Everyone knows that political rhetoric and reality don’t always mesh together. Republicans certainly can reap political dividends by claiming to be the only party on the side of law enforcement.
But when it comes to all Democrats wanting to “Defund the Police,” it looks as if Gottheimer has an answer to present.