NJ Firefighters’ Union Casts Garrett Aside in 2016 Endorsements

Democratic newcomer Josh Gottheimer has captured a union endorsement from Republican incumbent Scott Garrett.

Democratic newcomer Josh Gottheimer (left) has captured a union endorsement from Republican incumbent Scott Garrett.

One of New Jersey’s most influential unions is weighing in on this presidential cycle’s congressional and statewide races. The Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey announced its endorsements Tuesday, endorsing a long line of incumbents along with one Democratic newcomer.

The group, which represents professional firefighters and emergency medical personnel, and is affiliated with the International Association of Fire Fighters, is giving its blessing to Josh Gottheimer, who is running a competitive congressional campaign against incumbent Scott Garrett. Gottheimer has been the surprise fundraising success story among this year’s crop of new congressional candidates.

The union announced its effort to unseat Garrett earlier this year, saying in an official announcement that Garrett’s vote against funding for fire fighters had cost him their support.

“In office since 2003, Scott Garrett has voted against issues critical to New Jersey firefighters, EMTs and dispatchers working to deny SAFER Funds to communities across the state, and voting against the James Zadroga Act to provide health care to first responders in whose health has been impacted by their heroic response to the 9/11 terror attacks,” the group wrote in May.

Dominick Marino, the group’s president, alluded to the recent terrorist attacks in New York and New Jersey as he laid out the group’s criteria for endorsing in a statement.

“As a professional firefighter’s union, we have made it a point to endorse and support candidates based upon either their performance or stated positions or a combination thereof concerning our issues,” he wrote.

“Our membership consists of dedicated public safety professionals, hardworking taxpayers supporting families who cherish and exercise their right to vote- something too many aspiring politicians forget or purposely disregard when considering the value of our support.

“Having the right people in Congress and in Trenton is paramount for firefighters and emergency medical personnel to ensure safe working conditions and the necessary equipment to safely perform the duties of fire responders. With the threat of terrorist activity in New Jersey and the metropolitan area becoming more prevalent than ever, we need legislators that will respond to our needs.”

See the group’s full list of endorsements below.

House of Representatives

Donald W. Norcross (D-1)

Frank A. LoBiondo (R-2)

Tom MacArthur (R-3)

Christopher H. Smith (R-4)

Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat running against incumbent Scott Garrett (R-5)

Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-6)

Leonard Lance (R-7)

Albio Sires (D-8)

Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-9)

Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-10)

Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11)

Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12)

New Jersey Senate and Assembly

Senator Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. (D-18)

Assemblyman Robert J. Karabinchak (D-18)