The early front runner for the Democratic nomination to run against U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage) in the fifth district is Glen Rock attorney Camille Abate, who lost Democratic congressional primaries in 2006 and 2008. Abate is a staff attorney for The Bronx Defenders, a legal aid group, and worked for the Brooklyn Legal Aid Society from 1982 to 1993. She is the founder of the Camille Abate Justice for All Institute, which published a book, "Know Your Rights: Every American's Guide to Dealing with Law Enforcement," in 2008. She won 34% in a primary against Paul Stuart Aronsohn in 2006, and 33% against blind Rabbi Dennis Shulman in 2008. She was highly critical of then-Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero when she ran off the line the line in the last two elections; with Ferriero gone, the new Democratic regime (comprised mostly of old Ferriero lieutenants) seem inclined to let Abate take on the uphill battle against Garrett – partly to avoid the inconvenience of a primary.
If Abate wins, she would be the second member of the New Jersey delegation to go to Congress after losing two primaries: Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding) was defeated in the 1982 and 1990 Republican primaries (to James Courter and Richard Zimmer, respectively), before winning in 1994 as the replacement candidate for Dean Gallo. She would also become the first woman to represent New Jersey in the House since Marge Roukema retired in 2002.