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Robert Auth’s candidacy for Congress lasted less than a month.
Auth said Monday he has “suspended” his campaign for the Republican nomination for Congress in the 5th District. He said he was interested in running after attending Donald Trump’s Jan. 28 rally in Wildwood.
Auth, an assemblyman from District 39, was an early supporter of Trump’s presidential bid in 2016. Because of that, perhaps, he got a prized spot at the rally. He was on stage behind the president; close enough, he said afterwards, to read the president’s speech on the teleprompter as it was delivered.
Auth as a candidate had a lot of company, most notably Frank Pallotta, who had a campaign kickoff about 10 days ago, John McCann, who unsuccessfully challenged Democrat Josh Gottheimer in 2018 and Mike Ghassali, the mayor of Montvale.
Auth acknowledged that his competitors for the nomination have been active for a few months making political rounds and raising money.
“I was clearly behind,” he said.
Auth said that if “lightning strikes” and there are changes in the primary field, he’ll consider getting back in the race, but he doesn’t see that happening.
Going forward, it will be interesting to see if national Republicans make CD-5 a priority in terms of funding. On one hand, it is a competitive district. Yet on the other hand. taking back seats in districts 3, 7 and 11 may be more of a priority for national Republicans. All the Democrats in those districts – Andy Kim, Tom Malinowski and Mikie Sherrill – are first-time incumbents. And then there is the Second District where new Republican Jeff Van Drew seeks reelection after winning the seat in 2018 as a Democrat. Van Drew’s party switch prompted Trump’s Wildwood rally.
As for Gottheimer, he held his 47th “Cup of Joe with Josh Town Hall” last Saturday at the Majestic Diner in Ramsey. The format of these events is for the congressman to move from table to table talking to diners.