Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Scott Garrett (R-NJ)-- The Ultimate Sore Loser


Loser and extremist loon, Scott Garrett (R-NJ)

Aside from being the home of the Bada Bing strip club from The Sopranos, NJ-05 sits on the entire northern border of New Jersey with New York, from the Hudson River in the east to just outside of Port Jervis in the west, and the entire northwestern border with Pennsylvania from Milford through the Delaware Water Gap and beyond my old home in Stroudsburg. It's an affluent R+4 district in blue New Jersey. Over 70% of the population is in northern Bergen County's suburbs and towns like Paramus, Hackensack, Teaneck, Mahwah and Lodi (the Bada Bing club town). Politically, this is Chris Christie country although Sen. Bob Menendez won the district with 51% last time he ran. McCain won the district in 2008, 51-48% and Romney won in 2012, 52-49%. The congressman from the area, Scott Garrett, is the most extreme right congressman from New Jersey-- and the entire northeast United States-- since he was first elected in 2002. He was reelected in 2014 with 55.7% against political novice Roy Cho, who spent $1,251,518 to Garrett's $2,245,456. This year, though, the DCCC found themselves a revolting Blue Dog and pushed him bigly.

Gottheimer-- who got more money from the banksters than any other non-incumbent running for the House this year ($889,419), outraised Garrett $4,288,192 to 2,055,513. Garrett, until recently a Wall Street fave (as the anti-regulation sociopath chairman on the House Financial Services Committee's subcommittee on Capital Markets), only got $674,888 from the Finance Sector this cycle, way down from the $1,159,579 he scooped up from them in 2014 or the $1,224,313 he got in 2012. They wanted him to lose this year.

So on November 9, Bergen County residents woke up to some good news and some bad news. The good news was that Scott Garrett was on the losing end of a 156,863 (50.5%) to 146,643 (47.2%) result. It was the Bergen County voters who had finally grown tired of Garrett's extremism and who had turned him out. In 2012 he won Bergen County with 100,874 votes. This time, which far more people voting, only 93,430 in Bergen County went for Garrett. 121,875 voted for Gottheimer. And that's the bad news, of course: Gottheimer won. It looks like this will turn out to be the most expensive House race in New Jersey history. Outside spending was through the roof. Ryan's House Leadership PAC and the NRCC refused to spent a nickel on the widely disliked Garrett. Only another of crooked hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer's PACs, the American Principles Fund, kicked in any substantial money for Garrett-- $309,025. Meanwhile, smelling blood in the water, the DCCC and it's allies, excited to get another slimeball Blue Dog into Congress, spent a gargantuan $6.4 million attacking Garrett and bolstering Gottheimer. It worked. I wonder if they'll think it was worth it when Gottheimer becomes a regular supporter of Paul Ryan's agenda.

Gottheimer joined both the Blue Dog and the New Dems caucuses, as expected-- the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. Members have been telling me that he and Ro Khanna, another fake Democrat who was largely financed by the Finance Sector, by anti-union charter school billionaires and by Republicans, seem to be joined at the hip and are always walking around the Capitol together. Who Gottheimer is not walking around with is Garrett, who has been absent from Congress, furious at Ryan and the NRCC and refusing to show up for work (although still being paid, of course).

Yesterday, Herb Jackson, the DC correspondent for the Bergen Record reported that after an especially bitter campaign, Garrett is doing his best to sabotage Gottheimer's transition.
In an interview about his orientation as a new member of Congress, Gottheimer told The Record that Garrett has not returned his calls or responded to a certified letter asking about a transition, especially to ensure constituent requests do not fall through the cracks.

“I called him," Gottheimer said Thursday. "I sent him a letter before Thanksgiving both thanking him for his service as well as asking him to meet to discuss the transition. My chief also reached out to his chief of staff. We just haven’t heard back.

“My biggest thing is, these constituent issues are not partisan issues. Helping a veteran or a senior, making sure they get their Social Security, or helping a business that has an issue, this election should not affect their lives,” Gottheimer said.

...While polarizing politics is all too common, Garrett's apparent unwillingness to discuss a transition with his successor is not.

The last time a Democrat captured a New Jersey seat that a Republican had held was in 2008, and Democrat John Adler not only worked on the transition with the retiring incumbent , H. James Saxton, Adler even kept one of Saxton’s constituent service aides on his payroll.

When Adler was defeated two years later by Republican Jon Runyan, he transferred his outstanding constituent files to the offices of the state’s two Democratic senators. Garrett’s office has not made similar outreach to either Sen. Cory Booker or Sen. Bob Menendez, their offices said.

“We have not been contacted by Garrett’s office, but constituents have begun to call,” Menendez spokeswoman Tricia Enright said. “They say they were told Garrett’s office is not taking any new cases and they’re telling constituents to contact Sen. Menendez or Sen. Booker.”

At the non-profit Congressional Management Foundation, which has a contract with the House to provide training services to members, President Brad Fitch said he had heard of only one other case in the past 10 years in which there was no cooperation between an outgoing and an incoming member. Fitch said it is not unusual for some materials to be withheld, such as electronic databases of constituent contacts, especially if party control is changing hands, but files about constituents are a different story.

...Along with being New Jersey’s most expensive House race ever, the Garrett-Gottheimer campaign was particularly nasty practically from the start. Gottheimer’s ads said Garrett was being investigated for ethics violations, when all that had happened was an advocacy group made an allegation that appeared to go nowhere.

Garrett, meanwhile, used a civil lawsuit that was ultimately withdrawn as the basis for ads saying Gottheimer had assaulted a female neighbor, when the lawsuit itself said he had only wagged his finger in the woman’s face and did not touch her.

In their only debate, the candidates argued over who was a better liar.

Garrett initially declined to concede on Election Night, saying there were tens of thousands of votes still be counted. With no further reference to those votes, he put out a statement the following day thanking his supporters and lamenting the results “were not what I hoped for.” The statement never mentioned Gottheimer.
Bada bing!

UPDATE: Moratorium On Saying Mean Things About Ro Khanna

I wrote the above post before had some exchanges with Ro Khanna we told me he's going to be a lot different than what I expected-- a lot better-- and that I should have an open mind. And I will. Among other things, he said "My grandfather spent four years in jail with Gandhi fighting British colonialism. My aspiration is to help end the colonial model of the world. I am a progressive. My heart is in the right place. I hope we can build a relationship and you can email me regularly if there are key votes or issues you think we need a strong progressive voice on." Who could ask for more? So no more Ro Khanna-bashing around here. And if it starts up again, you'll know exactly why.

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