Is Gottheimer opening his war chest to select his own GOP opponent?

The GOP’s 2020 NJ-05 nominee (Frank Pallotta) is taking another bite at the apple in 2022, but despite having already done this once before, his fundraising has remained abysmal. At the end of Q1, he had a little more than $80,000 cash on hand.

Three-term Democrat incumbent Josh Gottheimer had $13 million.

So it hardly needs to be said that eyebrows were raised this weekend when Republican voters opened their rain-soaked mailboxes and found a Gottheimer campaign mailer (see below) attacking Pallotta, declaring that the under-funded Pallotta is “too much like Trump” and citing a no-longer-current 2020 endorsement from the former president (Trump hasn’t endorsed in NJ-05 this cycle, at least not to date). Why would a Democrat incumbent want to tell Republican primary voters (who generally like President Trump) that his possible opponent is too Trumpy? It’s an add thing to advertise BEFORE a GOP primary.

Is Gottheimer really opening up his ample war chest to soften up a possible November rival who doesn’t have the cash to respond?

Or is the Democrat congressman trying to “help” Republicans pick the candidate he prefers to face in November?

Frank Pallotta’s main primary rival – Nick DeGregorio, a U.S. Marine who’s raised far more than Pallotta – thinks he knows the answer. The photo of the mailer below was sent to DeGregorio’s own home address suggesting that high-propensity GOP addresses are being targeted. Save Jersey hasn’t learned of any Gottheimer mailers targeting DeGregorio.

Understandably, DeGregorio believes there’s a mischievous motive behind Gottheimer’s curiously-timed mailing.

“It is clear who Josh Gottheimer wants to win this Republican primary – and it’s not the guy who served his country in four tours overseas and is now calling on him and others to sell off their stock portfolios to clean up Washington,” said De Gregorio in a statement shared with Save Jersey. “For years, Democrats like Josh Gottheimer talked ad nauseam about Russian interference in our elections. Now Josh, who consistently presents himself as a bipartisan, common sense Democrat who’s above the fray, is using liberal special interest money to wage his own Putin-style disinformation campaign to confuse Republican primary voters about who the true conservative leader in this race is. It’s dead wrong — and if Josh is the statesman he claims to be, he will immediately stop any spending in the CD5 Republican primary.”

“I also call on my opponent, Frank Pallotta, to immediately disavow Gottheimer’s attempt to put his thumb on the scale in this race.” De Gregorio added. “Josh is running scared with good reason. He knows that the cost of food and gas, along with the Biden Administration’s abject failure to secure the border and support our cops is indefensible here. But here’s a message for you, Josh, man-to-man: I will never stop fighting for the future of this country against gutless cowards like you.”

Matt Rooney
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MATT ROONEY is's founder and editor-in-chief, a practicing New Jersey attorney, and the host of 'The Matt Rooney Show' on 1210 WPHT every Sunday evening from 7-10PM EST.