Democrat Josh Gottheimer bucked the national trend by denying Republican Rep. Scott Garrett an eighth term representing North Jersey in Congress.
So after Garrett conceded the race on Wednesday, Gottheimer sat in Abbie’s Diner in Wyckoff, thanking supporters who came in and talking about his plans to keep the job by being more bipartisan than Garrett and voting the way that served the 5th District, and not an ideology.
“People want problem solvers,” said Gottheimer, a former speechwriter to President Bill Clinton from Wyckoff who quit his job as a corporate strategist for Microsoft to run. “It’s what I learned working in business,” he said. “You have to be willing to take 80 percent, and not insist on 100 percent. Because what’s important is moving forward.”
He said that was especially true after Trump’s victory, which he said was a sign of how angry Americans are with gridlock.
“I think people in Washington realize that the American public has lost so much faith in Washington’s ability to get things done for them,” Gottheimer said. “After what the country’s been through these past few months, I believe there’s going to be a real drive toward bipartisanship.”
He said he would work with President-elect Donald Trump and Republican leaders who will continue to control Congress because, “That’s the job.”
But it’s also not an option for Gottheimer to go to Washington and join with the Democrats’ most liberal members in bucking the GOP. While he was able to win in a year when presidential voting boosted turnout, Republican-leaning voters still outnumber Democrats in his district, and he’s sure to face a battle when his seat comes up again in two years.
“He knows that he’s going to vulnerable two years from now,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-Paterson, who counseled Gottheimer regularly and said he ran “a heckuva campaign.”
After narrowly winning Bergen County two years ago, Garrett lost there by about 28,000 votes — 13 percentage points — Tuesday, according to unofficial election results. He scored majorities in the Sussex, Warren and Passaic County parts of the district, though by much smaller margins than in 2014.
Garrett lost in several towns where had previously dominated, including Dumont, Westwood and Harrington Park. He won every town in Sussex County, his base, except Newton. There, Gottheimer narrowly edged him 47.6 to 47.5 percent.
Gottheimer said he was able to succeed when Garrett’s previous challengers failed by having enough money to reach voters through expensive New York television — he raised $4.3 million, shattering records for a New Jersey House candidate — and a message focused on the record Garrett built as a strict Constitutional conservative who often opposed measures other Republicans supported.
RELATED: Did the election stress you out?
“His votes and his record were what we focused on throughout the campaign, and when people found out about it, I think that’s when they said well, ‘I can’t vote for him,’” Gottheimer said.
Unofficial results showed Gottheimer ahead of Garrett by more than 10,000 votes, or 3.3 percent.
Garrett said early Wednesday morning — after the Associated Press called the race for Gottheimer — that it was too early to declare a winner, as there were “upwards of 20,000” uncounted absentee ballots as well as a large number of provisional ballots to be tallied.
The exact number of absentee ballots cast in the 5th District wasn’t clear Wednesday, however. The Board of Elections in Bergen County, where 70 percent of the district’s voters live, said they were still counting the more than 33,000 such ballots received from voters countywide. They did not know how many came from the 5th District.
Roughly 6,300 absentee ballots were sent in by Sussex County voters, according to the Board of Elections there. They, too, were still being counted Wednesday and a breakdown for the 5th District was not available. Nearly 6,200 absentee ballots were cast by 5th District voters in Warren and Passaic counties, according to officials in those counties.
Gottheimer’s campaign aides said they were confident there were not enough uncounted votes to change the result. Garrett, who had no public events on Election Day, conceded on Wednesday in a statement that did not mention Gottheimer or his reason for changing his position on the uncounted votes.
“While the results of this election were not what I had hoped for, I am proud of the race we ran — we stayed the course and kept the faith,” said Garrett, 57, of Wantage. “We are charged to pray for our nation’s leaders, and we are doing that now.”
Gottheimer, 41, is the first Democrat to represent some parts of the district in more than 30 years, and the first challenger to defeat a New Jersey incumbent since 2010, when former NFL player Jon Runyan, a Republican, defeated first-term Rep. John Adler in the 3rd District.
His victory means Democrats will have a 7-5 majority in the state delegation, which includes three members who were first elected in 2014. One of them, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-Mercer County, said along with the complexity of the buildings and the ease with which someone can get turned around by taking the wrong elevator, Gottheimer also will have to adjust to the Capitol’s own pace.
“One thing I wish someone had told me is you never get to finish a meeting before the bill rings and you have to run and go vote,” she said. “I was struck by the rhythmlessness of the place. You never get anything done before you have to move on to something else.”
- US elections, explained
- Donald Trump makes one-day trip to coronavirus-surging Florida to talk about drug-smuggling and Venezuela and raise re-election funds
- Graham releases newly declassified documents on Russia probe
- Ten injured as suspected political thugs disrupt SDP meeting in Ondo
- Obama meets Perry and links border patrol changes to spending package
- Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs
- Coronavirus live updates: Spike in South Lake Tahoe cases prompts emergency meeting
- Narendra Modi retains core support at home as world tour reaches UK
- Tech workers electing to use skills in politics
- Israel supporter's dramatic shift shocks establishment
- Israel Supporter's Dramatic Shift Shocks Establishment
- ‘Grassroots Support For Joe’: Biden Campaign Announces Massive June Haul
- Trump’s Appeasers: Charles Lindbergh Is a Cautionary Tale for Republican Leaders
- Almost smooth sailing on the road with LJP's Chirag Paswan
- Amy Kennedy gets Democratic nod to take on party-switcher Van Drew in U.S. House
- 2020 Daily Trail Markers: Biden narrows campaign funding gap with Trump
- Coronavirus: Kayleigh McEnany argues science favours reopening schools in the US
- After Buhari, who is next? Okonjo-iweala (2)
- Woodlands board haggles over property tax rate, begrudgingly OKs lower rate
- The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Justices rule Manhattan prosecutor, but not Congress, can have Trump tax records
Garrett concedes; Newly-elected Gottheimer meets with supporters have 1152 words, post on www.usatoday.com at November 9, 2016. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.