Scott Garrett, who is down 11,000 votes with most precincts reporting, has issued the following statement early Wednesday morning:
The surge in absentee ballots in the Fifth District goes to show that our voters are engaged in this election like never before. Election officials expect that the absentee ballots will not be tallied tonight and that there are upwards of 20,000 ballots outstanding. A large number of provisional ballots have also been cast, and election officials tell us that those ballots may not be verified and tabulated for several days. The outcome of this race shouldn’t be called until these ballots can be counted.
“We’ve run an issue-based campaign, as opposed to Josh Gottheimer’s campaign of name-calling. During my entire time on the campaign trail, from Hackensack to Hackettstown, voters shared with me their top concerns, which are creating jobs, revitalizing our economy, and strengthening our national defense. I am confident that the election results will reflect these concerns and that voters will choose to send me back to Washington as their representative.”
There’s no other way to describe New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District on Tuesday night, Save Jerseyans, where incumbent Republican Congressman Scott Garrett trails his challenger, Democrat Josh Gottheimer, by a mere 5,000 votes (50% to 48%) with 88% reporting.
Sources close to the Garrett campaign say they fully expect to NOT have a final result tonight.
It’s been one of the nastiest races of the cycle in a district that has been traditionally red but trending blue post-redistricting which brought in more Bergen towns to the otherwise sprawling rural district.
GOP control of the U.S. House is no longer in jeopardy but Garrett’s loss would shrink the N.J. Republican delegation from six to five.