U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) became the first Democrat to represent New Jersey’s 5th congressional district in over 80 years when he won election in November 2016 and unseated 13-year incumbent Scott Garrett. Now, however, Republicans are pushing to reclaim Gottheimer’s seat for their party.
According to the National Republican Congressional Committee Deputy Communications Director Chris Pack, Gottheimer’s seat will be a “top offensive target” in 2018, a year when voter turnout is expected to be much lower than 2016 due to the lack of a presidential race at the top of the ticket. That lower turnout could mean a favorable outcome for the GOP due to the district leaning heavily Republican in the past.
Gottheimer was able to topple Garrett due to aggressive fundraising and significant national attention on the race from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. A similar focus from the NRCC might be able to reverse the trend.
New Jersey’s 5th district the only congressional district in the state identified by the NRCC as a key target. According to Pack, the NRCC hopes to build on President Donald Trump’s momentum in the district to unseat Gottheimer. Trump won New Jersey’s 5th congressional district in 2016.