In the News

NJ-05: Pallotta blasts Murphy’s $3.8M spending blitz on illegal alien tuition

August 24, 2019

Save Jersey

MAHWAH, N.J. – The Murphy Administration isn’t lifting a finger to help Newark residents get a clean drink of water, but it split $3.8 million in financial aid among 749 illegal alien college students for the 2018-2019 academic year. Nearly 1,400 applied.

5th Congressional District Republican primary candidate Frank Pallotta blasted the governor and NJ-05 Democrat incumbent Josh Gottheimer for misplaced priorities.

“At a time when our own citizens — including our veterans — are sick, struggling with crippling student loans, and sleeping in the streets, why are we looking to provide free healthcare, tuition, and housing to unauthorized immigrants?” said Pallotta. “Josh Gottheimer fails to call out and stand up to members of his own party even as they push policies that will lead our country into fiscal ruin and harm our citizens.”

Governor Murphy authorized the first-ever student aid disbursements for illegal alien students in 2018. Earlier in 2019, New Jersey became a “sanctuary state” – one which bars LEOs from assisting federal immigration authorities in the execution of their duties – at the direction of Murphy’s attorney general Gurbir Grewal.

New Jersey is home to approximately 500,000 illegals.

House Republicans say these Jersey candidates could give incumbents a run for their money

August 18, 2019

By Jonathan D. Salant

WASHINGTON — Democrats won four Republican-held House seats in New Jersey last fall and one in 2016. The GOP says it has candidates who can take at least two of them back.

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Friday placed state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr., R-Union, and retired investment banker Frank Pallotta on a list of 43 Republicans considered viable challengers and they therefore will receive fundraising support and other help from the national party.

The announcement also served as a signal to outside groups aligned with Republicans that these are congressional races they might want to spend money in next fall.

But they are running against two incumbent Democrats who already have banked at least $1 million.

Both Kean and Pallotta face Republican primaries, but the NRCC in the past has supported more than one GOP candidate in a race. For example, the party committee offered support to both John McCann, general counsel to the New Jersey Sheriffs Association, and former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, when they sought to take on Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-5th Dist., last year.

McCann won the 2018 primary, lost to Gottheimer, and is one of the candidates running against Pallotta for the 2020 GOP nomination.

Kean raised $507,462 this year, including $1,000 of his own money, and entered July with $420,852 in the bank. He is one of several Republicans seeking to take on Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-7th Dist., who ousted long-time incumbent Leonard Lance in one of the 23 congressional districts that elected a Republican representative in 2016 but supported Hillary Clinton for president.

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy of California already has endorsed Kean in his primary fight.

“I appreciate all the support my candidacy has received from the people of New Jersey, over 100 local elected and party officials in the district as well as Leader McCarthy, and the recognition I have earned from the NRCC,” Kean said.

“Congress is headed in the wrong direction and my neighbors in New Jersey want a nation whose future is prosperous and secure. I will be a representative that will bring New Jersey values to Washington.”

Malinowski raised $1.1 million through June 30 and had $1 million in the bank.

Pallotta has shown a willingness to dip into his own pocket to fund his race. Through June 30, Palotta raised $121,810, lent his campaign $25,000, and had $115,153 cash on hand.

He called the NRCC nod “a significant step towards defeating Josh Gottheimer and the radical liberal policies he fails to take a stand against.”

Gottheimer, who unseated seven-term Republican incumbent Scott Garrett in 2016, raised $1.7 million for his reelection and had a bank account balance of $5.7 million. He voted with Trump more than any other House Democrat last year.

The House Democratic political arm made it clear it would try to saddle the GOP candidates with the unpopular Republican tax law.

The measure, which increased the federal deficit by $1.9 trillion over 10 years, targeted New Jersey and other high-tax states by curbing the federal deduction for state and local taxes even as most of those states sent billions of dollars more to Washington than they receive in services.

“Washington Republicans’ handpicked candidates, Tom Kean, Jr. and Frank Pallotta, will have to own the GOP tax bill that slapped a massive tax increase on working New Jersey families while benefiting their special interest backers,” said Christine Bennett, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Both the Cook Political Report and Inside Elections, the two Washington-based publications that track congressional races, said Malinowski and Gottheimer were favored to win re-election next fall.

Pallotta, Kean clear first stage of the 2020 NRCC ‘Young Gun’ process

August 16, 2019

Save Jersey

By Matt Rooney

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two New Jersey House candidates have formally landed on the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC)‘s radar.

On Friday, state Senator Tom Kean and Goldman Sachs alumnus Frank Pallotta were announced as having made the ‘On the Radar’ list, the first step to achieving designation as an NRCC ‘Young Gun.’ Inclusion on the ‘Young Gun’ list isn’t a primary endorsement. The program is significant because of the fundraising visibility it provides (by design) to prospective GOP House nominees across the country.

“Once candidates fulfill enrollment requirements, they become eligible to advance to the first level of the program: On the Radar,” the NRCC’s website explains. “On the Radar candidates are individuals running in competitive congressional seats. They have met the minimum threshold in campaign organization and show potential to achieve greater status in the program as the cycle progresses.”

In NJ-05, Pallotta is in a three-way primary contest with Montvale Mayor Mike Ghassali and Cresskill Councilman John McCann (the 2018 nominee). Two-term incumbent Democrat Josh Gottheimer is a favorite for the Democrat nomination, but the establishment Democrat and fundraising juggernaut is facing a potentially serious challenge on his left flank from Glen Rock Councilwoman Arati Kreibich.

In NJ-07, Kean is battling tax attorney and tax reform advocate Rosemary Becchi for the right to take on far-left first-term incumbent Democrat Tom Malinowski in November 2020.

Pallotta raises nearly $147k to take on Gottheimer

July 13, 2019

New Jersey Globe

Ex-Wall Streeter has put $25k of his own money in the race

By David Wildstein

Potential self-funder Frank Pallotta has raised $146,810 for his challenge to Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) in New Jersey’s 5th district, including $25,000 of his own money.

He has $115,153 cash-on-hand, according to the first-time candidate’s filing with the Federal Election Commission.

So far, Pallotta faces three other announced challengers for the Republican nomination: Montvale Mayor Michael Ghassali; former Cresskill Councilman John McCann, Gottheimer’s 2018 opponent; and teacher James Baldini.

“I am grateful for and so excited by the support my campaign has received since announcing my candidacy in mid-May,” Pallotta said.  “As I travel all across the district, one thing is clear — people believe that Josh Gottheimer and Nancy Pelosi are taking Washington, DC and this country, in the wrong direction.  I am committed to taking this seat back next November.”

Pallotta spent 25 years on Wall Street – and Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — and now owns a privately-held mortgage advisory and consumer marketing firm, Steel Curtain Capital.

Gottheimer raised a massive $907,658 during the 2nd quarter of 2019 and has brought in more than $1.6 million in the first half of this year.  He now has a $5.7 million warchest.

Gottheimer raised $7,002,979 and spent $2,952,240 during his 2018 campaign, according to post-election reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission.  He defeated McCann by 41,291 votes in a district almost evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans that Donald Trump carried by one percentage point.

He ousted Rep. Scott Garrett in 2016 by a 51%-47% margin in a district that Donald Trump won by one percentage point – a 4,089-vote plurality.  Gottheimer, a former Clinton White House speechwriter, spent nearly $4.7 million –plus an additional $5.2 million spent by outside groups — to beat Garrett, who spent $4.2 million.

Pallotta has assembled a strong team of consultants, including Larry Weitzner and Barney Keller of Jamestown Associates and Pete Sheridan, a former New Jersey Republican State Committee executive director and longtime aide to ex-Gov. Chris Christie.

Also mulling a bid for the Republican nomination is Jon Dalrymple, Jr., a 29-year-old student at Warren County Community College.  He filed an exploratory committee last month.

Pallotta signs Trump media advisor, pollster in bid to oust Gottheimer

July 2, 2019

New Jersey Globe

Ex-Christie aide Peter Sheridan will serve as general consultant in 5th district race

By David Wildstein

Former investment banker Frank Pallotta has landed Donald Trump’s media consultant to help him oust two-term Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) in New Jersey’s 5th district.

Jamestown Associates’ Larry Weitzner and Barney Keller of Jamestown Associates will be Pallotta’s media consultants. Jamestown is one of the top GOP firms nationally and won eight Reed Awards for their work on the 2018 mid-term elections.

Pallotta’s general consultant is Peter Sheridan, a former Republican State Committee executive director and a longtime aide to former Gov. Chris Christie. Sheridan ran Integrity NJ, a super PAC that tried to unseat U.S. Senator Bob Menendez.

The pollster for the self-funding congressional candidate is McLaughlin & Associates’ Jim McLaughlin, who polled for Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Alex Cucciniello, who has worked on campaigns in New Jersey, will serve as a political advisor.

Pallotta faces Montvale Mayor Michael Ghassali and former Cresskill Councilman John McCann in a fight for the Republican nomination to take on Gottheimer.

He said his 25-year career on Wall Street has prepared him for what he hinted would be a campaign based on fiscal issues.

Now the owner of Steel Curtain Capital, a privately-held mortgage advisory and consumer marketing firm, Pallotta left Goldman Sachs in 1995 – he worked with Jon Corzine, Bob Rubin Hank Paulsen and Steve Mnuchin, but not with Gov. Phil Murphy – and retired from Morgan Stanley in 2008.

Pallotta comes with some political lineage: his cousin is Robert Pallotta, a former Palisades Park mayor and Bergen County freeholder.

Gottheimer, known as the Human Fundraising Machine, had a total haul of $830,063 during the first three months of 2019, a massive amount of money for a two-term congressman who just won re-election by fourteen points. He reported a warchest of $4.91 million.

He raised $7,002,979 and spent $2,952,240 during his 2018 campaign, according to post-election reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission. Gottheimer defeated McCann by 41,291 votes in a district almost evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans that Donald Trump carried by one percentage point.

The Bergen County Democrat has not yet reported his second quarter 2019 fundraising numbers.

Gottheimer ousted Rep. Scott Garrett in 2016 by a 51%-47% margin in a district that Donald Trump won by one percentage point – a 4,089-vote plurality. Gottheimer, a former Clinton White House speechwriter, spent nearly $4.7 million –plus an additional $5.2 million spent by outside groups — to beat Garrett, who spent $4.2 million.

Pallotta is latest GOP challenger to take on Gottheimer in CD5

May 17, 2019

North Jersey Record

By Richard Cowen

A Mahwah township official who was involved in the effort to recall the former mayor and was active in the in a campaign to prove that the Pleasant Brook was polluted with arsenic wants the chance to unseat Rep. Josh Gottheimer, the Democratic congressman from the 5th District, next year. 

Frank Pallotta, 58, a financier and mortgage broker, has never held an elected office but believes he can deliver a winning message to voters in the 5th, a swing district that covers portions of Bergen, Passaic, Sussex and Warren counties that historically has leaned Republican. 

“I consider myself a fiscal conservative. It’s something I’ve grown up on,” said Pallotta, who was raised in Queens but has lived in Mahwah for the past 30 years. “I’m a believer in smaller government and lower taxes. That is a strategy that works.”

Pallotta entered the campaign by launching a video attacking Gottheimer, calling him a member of “the radical left” in Congress who has voted with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, and Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, more than 80 percent of the time.

Gottheimer, during his two-plus years in Congress, has positioned himself more toward the political center. He’s a founding member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of 48 Democrats and 48 Republicans who seek bipartisan cooperation on legislation. 

A Gottheimer spokesman declined to answer a direct question about the video and its allegations and instead sent an emailed statement with a generic response.

“Josh is working across the aisle to lower taxes, claw back more of our tax dollars, lower health care costs, protect our environment, stand up for seniors, veterans and first responders and protect our national security,” said Andrew Edelson, a spokesman. “That is the approach Josh has always taken and why, with support from Democrats, Republicans and Independents, he was re-elected by historic margins six months ago.”

In 2018, Mahwah Mayor William Laforet was the subject of a recall, and Pallotta was one of four candidates who entered the race. Pallotta and two other candidates quickly dropped out of the race and threw their support behind John Roth, who won the mayoral contest. 

Pallotta created a stir when he conducted water samples of the Pleasant Brook, which runs through the Apple Ridge Country Club property between Mahwah and Upper Saddle River. Pallotta found levels of arsenic that were above New Jersey’s drinking water standards and went public with his findings.

Pallotta is the third Republican to enter the race, with more than a year to go before the primary. John McCann, the Oakland attorney and former legal adviser to Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino who lost to Gottheimer in 2018, is raising money to run again. James Baldini, a resident of Branchville in Sussex County, is also seeking the GOP nomination. 

Republicans are looking to reverse the route of 2018, when they lost 11 of 12 congressional seats statewide. Gottheimer, in his first bid for reelection, handily defeated John McCann, 169,546 to 82,869, in the 5th District. McCann actually won by small margins in Passaic, Sussex, and Warren counties, but Gottheimer clobbered him by garnering 50,000 votes in Bergen.

Although Gottheimer hasn’t announced that he intends to seek a third term, all indications are that he will. The Wyckoff Democrat is a prolific fundraiser who brought in nearly $1 million in the last quarter and has $5 million in his campaign account. 

Pallotta’s foray into electoral politics comes 13 months before the primary. He’s starting from scratch and will have to raise a significant amount of money to reach voters beyond Mahwah, where he sits on the Planning Board and Environmental Commission. 

“I’m not a stranger to getting on the phone,” said Pallotta, who spent years working trades on Wall Street. “I have an idea of what it will take. It takes money to win. It doesn’t take money to run. If you have the right message, I think the money flows.”

Gottheimer raised close to $7 million and spent $3 million for his first re-election bid, against McCann in 2018, according to federal campaign finance records. McCann, by contrast, raised a little over $900,000 — and $500,000 of that was in loans that the candidate made to himself, the finance records show.

McCann has set up a new website and is back in the race. His latest Federal Election Commission filing shows that he has raised $8,000 thus far. He could not be reached for comment. 

Bergen County GOP Chairman Jack Zisa, while praising Pallotta, said he knew of other candidates who were thinking of entering the race. He declined to name them. 

“It’s a great country that we live in,” Zisa said. “If you believe you can do the job and you have the understanding of what it takes to win, then by all means, run. I would encourage involvement.”

This targeted N.J. Democrat just got a new Republican challenger

May 13, 2019

By Jonathan D. Salant

WASHINGTON — Rep. Josh Gottheimer, one of five New Jersey House Democrats on the Republican target list, got a new Republican challenger for his 5th Congressional District seat.

Former investment banker Frank Pallotta of Mahwah announced he would run for the seat in 2020.

“As I’ve talked to my friends and neighbors over the past few months, one thing has become clear to me — Washington, D.C., is broken” said Pallotta, 58. “Josh Gottheimer had his chance and failed. This country has presented me and my family with extraordinary opportunities and I am humbled to announce my candidacy for Congress.”

Gottheimer, who ousted GOP Rep. Scott Garrett in 2016 to become the first Democrat to represent the North Jersey district in 84 years and easily won a second term last November, has been targeted by the National Republican Congressional Committee along with the four New Jersey freshmen elected last year.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has put all five on its list of most endangered incumbents.

Pallotta’s initial video mirrored attacks made by national Republicans by trying to tie Gottheimer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and two freshmen Democrats from the party’s left wing, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.

But Gottheimer only supported Pelosi for speaker after she agreed to several changes in House procedures championed by the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus that he co-chairs.

And he led the effort in the House to rebuke out for using anti-Semitic stereotypes when she criticized supporters of Israel.

NRCC spokesman Bob Salera criticized Gottheimer for refusing to call on fellow Democrats to remove Ilhan from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“He’ll have to answer to voters,” Salera said.

Gottheimer last year was rated as one of the most bipartisan members of the House during his first two years in office deviated from the Democratic Party line more often than any other House member, according to the Lugar Center, a public policy group named for the late U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and by Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.

He also was the House Democrat who supported President Donald Trump most often than anyone else in his caucus, according to Congressional Quarterly.

Gottheimer’s unsuccessful 2018 Republican challenger, John McCann, general counsel for the New Jersey Sheriffs Association, also announced that he would run again in 2020.

So has educator James Baldini.

Pallotta worked at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley before founding a business to help homeowners stay in their houses during the 2008 Great Recession. He now helps those on active duty move from the U.S. Armed Forces to the private sector. He briefly ran for Mahwah mayor in 2018.

He helped lead Morgan Stanley’s mortgage banking department, leading DCCC spokesman Mike Gwin to call him “a key figure in one of the darkest periods in American history,” referring to the economic downturn.

Still, his background in the financial sector could give him the resources to self-fund a campaign against one of the Democrats’ most prolific fundraisers. Gottheimer banked $4.9 million as of March 31.

The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections, two Washington-based publications that track congressional races, rated Gottheimer as a strong favorite for re-election.