With almost 30 viable primary challenges to Democratic House members already underway, two-term New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wycoff) has now attracted an opponent. Glen Rock City Councilwoman and neuroscientist Arati Kreibich announced her candidacy yesterday, saying that “incremental change isn’t cutting it.”
Ms. Kreibich will find that denying Rep. Gottheimer re-nomination is a difficult task. The Congressman is one of the better prepared incumbents, thus making her undertaking even more difficult. Mr. Gottheimer has already raised $1.74 million for his 2020 campaign and has more than $5.6 million in his campaign account.
Montvale Mayor Mike Ghassali (R) declared yesterday that he will enter the Republican primary in hopes of challenging two-term Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff). Though the GOP field is becoming crowded, Mr. Gottheimer is one of the better prepared Democratic incumbents and a prolific fundraiser. Regardless of the district’s partisan nature (Trump ’16: 49-48%), Rep. Gottheimer will be favored for re-election.
Late last week, 2018 congressional candidate Hirsh Singh announced his intention to oppose Sen. Cory Booker (D) next year, as we reported yesterday. Now, healthcare business consultant Tricia Flanagan has also declared her intention to seek the Republican nomination.
Largely, the Republican nomination here is not a particular prize. Sen. Booker, though he probably won’t become the Democratic presidential nominee, will be a lock in his Senate re-election bid from one of the nation’s more Democratic and expensive states (in which to campaign). Sen. Booker will be safe for re-election regardless of who the Republicans ultimately nominate.
2018 candidate Hirsh Singh, who originally was in the 2nd Congressional District but lost the Republican primary, on Friday announced his intention to oppose Sen. Cory Booker (D) next year.
The Senate campaign will be a political suicide run for Singh, since Sen. Booker will be re-elected regardless of how his presidential campaign unfolds. But, in a way, his move to the Senate likely helps the Republicans clear the way in order to recruit a more credible consensus opponent to freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May).
As promised, state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield), the son of former Governor Tom Kean, Sr. and a former US House and Senate candidate, formerly announced his campaign for the 7th Congressional District. Looking like a consensus Republican candidate, Sen. Kean will very likely face freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) in the general election.
Mr. Kean in the Republicans top choice to run here, and the nature of this CD suggests we will again see a highly competitive battle next year.
New Jersey’s coastal 2nd District, anchored in the Atlantic City region, had been in Republican hands for 24 years in the person of Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-Ventnor) until last year. The Congressman’s retirement led to Democratic state Sen. Jeff Van Drew having a relatively easy run to replace Mr. LoBiondo, though his victory margin against weak Republican nominee Seth Grossman was lower than expected: 53-45%.
This year, the competition already appears stronger. Venture capitalist David Richter (R) announced his congressional candidacy yesterday in a seat that President Trump carried, 51-46%. With Mr. Trump again on the 2020 ballot, this race could become much more competitive than last year.
State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield), whose father served two terms as Governor in the 1980s, will reportedly announce his congressional challenge to freshman US Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill/Short Hills) on April 16th. Mr. Kean, who has lost past races for both the US Senate and House, has been in the state Senate since 2003, and in leadership beginning in 2008.
Freshman Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair), who appears to be one of the stronger members elected for the first time in November, has drawn a Republican opponent for 2020. Financial industry executive Reinier Prijten announced his congressional campaign on Friday.
Ms. Sherrill defeated state Assemblyman Jay Webber (R) 57-42% to replace veteran retired Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Morristown). It is unclear if this race will become a major GOP target but, if Mr. Prijten can organize a credible campaign and raise sufficient funds, this district can again become a competitive political venue.
Investment banker Frank Pallotta (R) says he is going to soon form a congressional exploratory committee comprised of “industry leaders and experts” to help him assess his chances of unseating two-term Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wycoff) next year.
Mr. Gottheimer unseated veteran Republican Rep. Scott Garrett in 2016 and was easily re-elected in November with 56.2% of the vote. The 5th District has typically performed as a Republican seat until 2016, so the GOP looking to target this district is realistic, especially if they have a candidate with financial wherewithal.
State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield), son of former two-term Gov. Tom Kean (R), yesterday confirmed he is actively weighing his chances of challenging freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill). The 7th District has voted Republican for 98 of the last 104 years until Mr. Malinowski unseated incumbent Rep. Leonard Lance (R) at the end of 2018.
Mr. Kean is the Republican leadership’s first recruitment choice, and a potential candidate that the GOP hierarchy has been attempting to lure back into a House race for the past several election cycles. Mr. Kean ran for the House one other time, back in 2000, but lost the Republican primary. He also launched a Senate bid in 2008 but lost 53-44% to then-appointed Sen. Bob Menendez (D).
NJ-7 should be competitive in the next election, meaning Sen. Kean is likely to be a strong candidate with a viable chance to win should he ultimately become a candidate.
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