Has Gottheimer Got It?

With the midterms less than four months away, Democratic Representative and incumbent Josh Gottheimer (CD 5) doesn’t have the race wrapped up, but the potential is there. A recent poll indicates Democrats are more enthusiastic about voting in the midterms. The enthusiasm in New Jersey is palpable, but for Gottheimer to win he needs a strong Democratic turnout. With anti-Trump fervor, activism, and and some excellent House candidates, we have become a battleground for regaining control of the House, but the momentum has to continue.

NJ Congressional District 5

Before his victory in 2016 this CD 5 seat had been Republican since 1933. Following redistricting and population changes the district now leans slightly Republican. For Gottheimer to retain the seat is not an assured matter.

One concern is that historically Republicans have a higher voter turnout in this district. In the 2018 uncontested Democratic Primary he received 26,505 votes vs. the combined Republican votes of 42,907 between Steve Lonegan and the winner John McCann.

Another concern is that in 2016 Gottheimer defeated then Republican incumbent Scott Garrett and an Independent with 47% of the total vote. He defeated Garrett alone by 172,587 (52%) to 157,690 (48%.) A close race. His stronghold is in Bergen County where he received 79% of his votes and handily defeated Garrett. However in the remaining counties of Passaic, Sussex and Warren he lost to Garrett. This is a district that Trump won.


Five Thirty eight takes a statistical look:

Trump score

How often Gottheimer votes in line with Trump’s position

Trump margin

Trump’s share of the vote in the 2016 election in New Jersey’s 5th District minus Clinton’s

Predicted score

How often Gottheimer is expected to support Trump based on Trump’s 2016 margin

Trump plus-minus

Difference between Gottheimer’s actual and predicted Trump-support scores

52.9% 1.1 69.4% -16.5

According to govtrack in its ideology-leadership chart Gottheimer is shown as a purple triangle , in the middle area between both parties but much closer to Dems than the GOP.

Politics That Work points out he favors the middle class 67% of the time and broad civil rights 100%. Because of the large number and complexity of Gottheimer’s votes they provide a summary of each of his positions based on one or a few key bills in his voting record, not the entirety: “He opposes financial sector regulation and supports taxing businesses, environmental protection, gun control, hawkish foreign policy, public health, increasing revenues, taxing the wealthy, and women’s rights.” As examples, Planned Parenthood Action Fund rates him 100% and Americans for Prosperity (Koch-funded) rates him 4%. His votes from January 2017 to June 2018 are here.


According to his FEC report as of June 30 his financial position is stellar and that of his challenger is the pits.

Candidate Party Total receipts Total disbursements Cash on hand
GOTTHEIMER, JOSH DEMOCRATIC PARTY $5,208,050.29 $753,382.62 $4,533,752.73
MCCANN, JOHN JOSEPH MR. JR. REPUBLICAN PARTY $432,362.51 $425,870.05 $6,492.46

$664,000 of Gottheimer’s receipts were donations of less than $1,000. In addition Open Secrets indicates he is the second highest NJ recipient (2017-2018) of PAC money at $980,776. (Sen. Menendez received the highest amount at $1,282,421, and Rep. Pallone ranks 3rd with $935,782.)  



In the past there has been little independent polling on NJ congressional races. It appears that with several hotly contested races this year that may change. Monmouth, for example, could decide to poll this district which would give us better information on its status.

Gottheimer’s website is here. (Preview photo of him above: Tariq Zehawi/NorthJersey.com)

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