Frank Pallotta is back.
The Bergen County Republican who unsuccessfully challenged Democrat Josh Gottheimer last year in CD–5 announced today that he plans to run again in 2022.
“It’s time to replace (Gottheimer) with someone who has the courage to represent the citizens of the 5th District,” Pallotta said. “In the coming months, I hope to demonstrate that I am that person.”
The election is about 18 months away, which is an eternity in politics.
Still, some broad conclusions can be drawn.
One is obvious. Pallotta has to do better in the heart of the district – Bergen County, which he lost by about 53,000 votes last year.
Pallotta won the three other counties in the district – Passaic, Sussex and Warren – by about 21,000 votes. You don’t need to be a math major to realize that wasn’t good enough. The problem for the Republican is that Bergen seems to be getting more Democratic every election cycle.
The prevailing view is that the party of the president loses seats in the midterm election.
That would favor Pallotta.
Yet, in this hyper-partisan environment, does the “prevailing” view mean anything anymore? After all, the “prevailing” view at this time in 2016 was that Donald Trump had no chance to win the presidency.
It’s far too early to worry about campaign issues.
But just for the record, Pallotta called Gottheimer a “career member of the political establishment,” adding that he has declared “war on law enforcement” and has failed to stand up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. regarding a COVID aid formula that “denied funding to much of (the) district.”
The reference was to some counties and towns in the district missing out on federal aid last fall because of population. The state responded by awarding some aid to these jurisdictions out of federal money that came direct to New Jersey.
Some of these themes are similar to what Pallotta raised last fall. That in itself doesn’t mean they’re not going to work, but the challenger probably also needs some fresh material. He does have time for that.