Passaic County Freeholder Director Terry Duffy announced he is forming an exploratory committee for a potential 5th District congressional bid.
In a statement, Duffy said he will meet with residents of the newly drawn district over the next 30 days in an effort to decide if challenging incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett is feasible.
“Our priority needs to be unseating Congressman Garrett – who now becomes the most vulnerable incumbent Congressman in New Jersey with this new map,” Duffy said in a statement. ” I look forward to challenging his extremist record with pragmatic common sense solutions.”
First elected in 2004, Duffy is in his third term on the freeholder board.
The challenge comes after the congressional redistricting commission adopted a map that would combine portions of the 8th, 9th and 5th Districts into two. Redistricted out of the 9th District he has represented since 1996 and into the 5th District, U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman decided to challenge U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell in a primary rather than face Garrett.
The district favors Garrett by about four points based on past election performance and any Democratic challenger faces an uphill battle to unseat Garrett, considered the most conservative representative in the state’s delegation.
Garrett boasts a war chest of more than $1.5 million as well as a loyal following among the Tea Party.
Duffy is the first to publicly declare his interest, but already several names have been mentioned as potential challengers, including Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, Sen. Bob Gordon and former Giants great Harry Carson, who lives in Franklin Lakes.
Bergen County Democratic Organization Chairman Lou Stellato said today he has not been approached yet by anyone seeking to challenge Garrett and all names are at this point speculative.