NJ Election 2020: District 5

The 5th Congressional District, the northernmost district in the state, includes parts of Bergen, Passaic, Sussex and Warren counties. The district has traditionally voted Republican but swung Democratic four years ago when then-newcomer Josh Gottheimer defeated seven-term Republican Scott Garrett.

Democrats have a slight registration edge among voters — 32% versus 29% for Republicans, with the plurality unaffiliated. The district is on the list of those targeted by the National Republican Congressional Committee, although Gottheimer won his seat as a Democrat in 2016 when the district voted for Donald Trump.

Gottheimer, who is among the top campaign fundraisers in the nation, faced a primary challenge but still had $8.8 million in the bank as of the last federal campaign filing on June 30. Federal Election Commission data show that Republican challenger Frank Pallotta had less than 1% of that — $87,300.

One independent candidate, Louis Vellucci, is also on the ballot.


In 2016, Gottheimer became the first Democrat since the 1930s to represent the 5th District.

While many progressives have called him too conservative, his campaign has also garnered a lot of support from the party. Gottheimer graduated from Harvard Law School and is a former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton. He also worked for the Federal Communications Commission, Ford Motor Company and Microsoft. Gottheimer lives in Wyckoff with his wife, Marla, and their two children.

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Pallotta is a member of the Mahwah Planning Board and Environmental Commission, where he was active in a campaign to prove Pheasant Brook was contaminated with arsenic.

A former investment banker, Pallotta calls himself a fiscal conservative. In 2008, the longtime Mahwah resident co-founded a small business to help homeowners and veterans affected by the mortgage crisis during the Great Recession. He and his wife, Patty, have two adult sons.

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Vellucci, of Mahwah, is running under the slogan “American Values.”

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