MAHWAH – It looks like Josh Gottheimer wishes he had a vote in the upcoming Republican primary.
Gottheimer just sent out a mailer criticizing (sort of) Frank Pallotta, one of two candidates seeking the GOP’s nod to run against him in CD-5.
“Frank Pallotta rallies for Trump, Not New Jersey” is the headline.
The piece shows a photo of a rally and includes a quote from the former president that Pallotta will be a “great congressman.”
The quote apparently is from 2020 when Pallotta ran and lost to Gottheimer by about 32,000 votes.
Pallotta wants another shot at Gottheimer this year, but before that happens, he has to get by Nick DeGregorio, who has the backing of the Bergen County Republican Organization.
Which brings us back to Gottheimer’s mailer.
At a candidates’ event Tuesday night in this northern Bergen County town, Pallotta said there’s only one conclusion to be drawn – He (Pallotta) is going to win the primary and Gottheimer is starting the fall campaign early.
“His polls are showing what my polls are showing, I have a double-digit lead,” Pallotta said.
DeGregorio has a different take.
He said Gottheimer is getting involved in a Republican primary and that he should not be doing that.
Let’s look at the mailer.
It does criticize Pallotta by saying he is rallying for Donald Trump, “not New Jersey.”
But it also quotes Trump praising Pallotta.
There’s no doubt that the Trump brand, if you will, is still strong among some New Jersey Republicans.
So on one page of a campaign mailer, Pallotta is being both criticized and praised.
As for the event itself, there were no real disagreements between the two congressional candidates.
Schools, or rather what gets taught in public schools, continues to be a top topic for Republicans. Many have condemned standards set to take place next year for being too graphic in regard to sex and gender education.
The practical problem for those running for Congress is that local education is not a federal issue. DeGregorio did talk about his support for federal legislation to expand “school choice” opportunities for parents.
Pallotta hailed recent public involvement in education, specifically mentioning huge crowds last year in Randolph, Morris County, after the school board eliminated first Columbus Day – and then all holidays – from the school calendar. The board changed course after an uproar, but as you can see, the issue lives on.
Particular aspects of foreign policy aren’t normally discussed at such forums. On this night, however, a man asked the candidates about Hezbollah, a Lebanese political group linked to terrorism.
Both expressed their support for Israel.
DeGregorio cited the Abraham Accords – peace agreements among Israel, the United Arab Emirates and several other moderate Aran states signed during the Trump administration – as a step in the right direction.
Pallotta stressed his opposition to the so-called BDS movement, which seeks to boycott and sanction Israel.