Frank Pallotta and Sussex County – Perfect Together.
O.K., it’s not all that catchy, but Pallotta has to be pretty grateful this week for New Jersey’s most rural outpost.
Pallotta unofficially won Sussex by about 4,300 votes in Tuesday’s CD-5 Republican primary. Pallotta actually lost Bergen County, his home region and the largest county in the district, by almost 1,200 votes to John McCann. But Pallotta’s success in Warren and Passaic counties and his big win in Sussex gave him the GOP nod and the right to challenge Democrat Josh Gottheimer this fall.
Pallotta specifically thanked Sussex with a Facebook post showing some of the candidate’s key Sussex supporters. Sussex County Republicans do not have an official “party line,” but Pallotta was endorsed by the county freeholders and other GOP leaders.
In the initial salvo of the general election, Pallotta offered up a post ridiculing Gottheimer’s work with the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of House members.
“Voters will see clearly that the self-appointed leader of the so-called Problem Solvers Caucus is the problem facing the Fifth District,” it said.
That remains to be seen. Gottheimer’s take is that the Problem Solvers Caucus is a noble attempt to put political rancor aside and seek common sense solutions to ongoing problems.
General elections differ from primaries, but anyway you slice it, Pallotta probably has to do better in Bergen County in November to beat Gottheimer. With many more people voting, strong support in Sussex may not be enough.
In his late Wednesday afternoon Facebook post, Pallotta said that winning an election is hard, but that he had a great organization through the efforts of Kelly Ann Hart.
“I couldn’t have done it without her,” Pallotta says, adding “On to November.”
Pallotta’s November foe, Gottheimer, faced a spirited challenge from the left from Arati Kreibich, but prevailed easily.