Pallotta on the Democrats: ‘They’re Coming After Our Kids’

WALDWICK – A confident Frank Pallotta says his race with Josh Gottheimer is within single digits.

Single digits?

That could mean a spread of one point or a spread of nine points.

Pallotta contended after addressing about 50 supporters at a local brew pub Wednesday night that the race is between the low to mid-single digits.

Partisan gatherings are the perfect time for upbeat pronouncements, so Pallotta’s optimism is not unusual.

Nonetheless, his path ahead doesn’t seem all that easy.

This is Pallotta’s second try against Gottheimer in CD-5; he lost by about 32,000 votes in 2020.

“We ran last cycle, we took Josh Gottheimer to the mat,” Pallotta said as supporters drank beer, ate pizza and checked TV screens whenever Aaron Judge came to bat.

It’s true that House candidates generally do better during their second runs, but things are not the same. Redistricting has moved the district east to pick up more Bergen County towns at the expense of solidly-Republican Warren County. The result is that registered Democrats now outnumber Republicans in CD-5 by about 57,000. The Cook Political Report rates the district as “likely Democrat.”

Pallotta said this will be a “turnout election” (aren’t they all?) and that Republicans and conservative leaning independents need to vote. He said the GOP is right on the key issues, citing high inflation, rising crime and lack of border control.

Then he added, “They’re coming after our kids, they’re coming after our children.”

This was a reference to new sex ed standards in public schools that conservatives have criticized as inappropriate. Republicans have raised the issue of public school curriculum in general all over the country with some success.

It remains a strong Republican talking point despite an obvious problem in this race – Congress has virtually nothing to do with public school curriculum.

Pallotta also criticized Gottheimer for failing to eliminate the $10,000 federal tax deduction cap on state and local taxes or SALT.  All New Jersey Democrats have condemned the cap for four years, but it remains in place.

Pallotta said Gottheimer must be hoping voters forget that the cap is still there. Fair point.

However, what Gottheimer and all other Dems probably want voters to remember is that the $10,000 cap was put in place by Republicans. It was part of the 2017 tax reform package.

Pallotta’s speech said nothing about abortion rights.

There you have the difference between the parties during this cycle.

Democrats talk about abortion rights all the time; Republicans seldom do.

Gottheimer has taken note.

A campaign ad for the congressman calls Pallotta an “extremist,” for opposing abortion rights and also for not distancing himself from right wing groups like the Oath Keepers, some of whom were involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

As the ad puts it, “Extremist Frank Pallotta, he doesn’t share our Jersey values.”

Pallotta said Gottheimer’s attacks, which began during the Republican primary, show the incumbent is worried. He put it this way:

“The reason this guy is coming out against us, as early as he is coming out against us – he is scared.”

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