Pallotta Determinedly Soldiers on

Pallotta
Nick DeGregorio stood in front of his sign-waving supporters Wednesday night and celebrated winning the CD-5 endorsement of the Bergen County Republican Organization.
“It’s time for unity,” he said. “I call upon my primary opponents to come together. Let’s work together. Let’s win in November against Josh Gottheimer.”
A nice sentiment to be sure, but unity ain’t going to happen – at least not now.
Frank Pallotta, the GOP candidate in the district two years ago, wants another shot at Gottheimer. He lost the convention to DeGregorio by a healthy margin – 302-116 – but Pallotta doesn’t seem discouraged.
“This race is about the people; not the party bosses and backroom deals,” he said in a statement this morning. “Text messages recently released from BCRO leadership again prove that was the case. We’ve been here before; most recently in 2020 when I won the GOP primary by 20 points – without the Bergen County line. I am proud to have already won the organizational line in Passaic County as well as receiving the backing of the Sussex GOP, and look forward to replicating my 2020 victory on June 7.”
Let’s first look at the last part of Pallotta’s statement.
He did win the 2020 primary rather easily, but he lost in Bergen County by about 1,000 votes to John McCann Jr. Pallotta’s win was keyed by strong support elsewhere, namely in Passaic, Sussex and Warren counties.
This time around the playing field has changed.
Redistricting has removed Warren from CD-5 and has shrunk Sussex, which could hurt Pallotta. On the
other hand, the Passaic portion of the district has slightly increased. But the bottom line is that the new map has put more of the district in Bergen County, theoretically making the county party’s endorsement more important than it was two years ago.
Pallotta’s reference to “party bosses and backroom deals” should not be dismissed.
It is what you’d expect someone who just lost a convention vote to say.
Yet on the other hand, county committee members are insiders by definition and, as such, are prone to make the type of “backroom deals” to which Pallotta refers. It’s just the way the game is played.
The more relevant question is how much sway the endorsement will have over average GOP voters. At a candidates’ forum Monday night in Woodcliff Lake, some Pallotta backers privately acknowledged the committee’s endorsement of DeGregorio was a done deal, but also said that the BCRO has less influence than its leaders think.
That remains to be seen. Perhaps complicating the picture is Fred Schneiderman, who plans to run in the primary as well. He got 15 votes at the convention.
This would mean at least two candidates running “off the line,” a scenario that would seem to favor DeGregorio.
As for Gottheimer, he is doing what incumbents are wont to do – travelling around the district dispensing good news, giving updates or just mingling with people.
Over the last few days, the congressman has been in Newton to announce $750,000 in federal money coming to Newton Medical Center, in Andover to push for completion of the Lackawanna Cutoff, a long-delayed rail project, and in Paramus to visit a seniors exercise class funded by Medicare Advantage.
For district Republicans, the exercise of spirited party politics is bound to continue.
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