New potential Garrett challenger forms exploratory committee

Dennis Shulman, a blind 57-year-old rabbi and psychologist from Demarest, has formed an exploratory committee to mull a bid for Congress against Republican incumbent Scott Garrett.

Shulman, a Democrat, has not announced the members on his committee, but said that he will make a decision on whether or not to run in October. If he does decide to enter the race, he’ll likely face a primary challenge from Camille Abate, who ran against Paul Aronsohn in the fifth district’s 2006 Democratic primary. Anne Wolfe, who ran against Garrett in 2004, has not ruled out challenging him again.

Shulman said that Garrett’s conservative credentials put him out of touch with his district.

“When one looks at the basic attitudes of most people in this district, this is I would say a moderate district, and it’s been represented in a way that reflects a much more conservative bend,” said Shulman, who has never run for elected office.

Shulman cast himself as more moderate than Abate, who ran to the left of Ahronson in the last primary.

“I respect her, and I respect her candidacy,” said Shulman. “But I think that my candidacy reflects kind of taking things very rationally, and it’s not that she’s irrational, but it really is an issue of how we can get representation that thinks these issues through, and that really is kind of the basic message of my candidacy.”

New potential Garrett challenger forms exploratory committee