Democrats have targeted Republican Scott Garrett in November’s election, hoping that, with an unpopular, at least in New Jersey, presidential candidate at the top of the ticket the state’s most conservative congressman will be vulnerable.
Garrett has held the 5th district seat since 2002, winning every year with at least 55 percent of the vote. But accusations of homophobia, which he denies, have hampered his ability to raise money.
The district in northwest New Jersey is Republican, but Democrats hope Garrett’s extreme conservatism — he was involved in ousting John Boehner (R-Ohio) as House speaker — and high turnout in a presidential year will make him vulnerable.
The Democratic candidate, Josh Gottheimer, 40, is making his first run for elected office. Gottheimer has political experience as a speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and has also worked for Ford and Microsoft. He is ahead of Garrett in fundraising, although the incumbent has an equal warchest because of money unspent in earlier campaigns.
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