NJ-05: House Majority PAC Congratulates Josh Gottheimer
November 9, 2016
Washington, D.C. – House Majority PAC congratulated Representative-Elect Josh Gottheimer on his victory in New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District.
“North Jersey voters have rejected Scott Garrett’s shameless bigotry and chosen a Representative who actually reflects their values by electing Josh Gottheimer to Congress,” said House Majority PAC Executive Director Alixandria Lapp. “House Majority PAC is thrilled to have played a critical role in making sure Josh Gottheimer will bring fiscally responsible, socially progressive leadership to Washington.”
The race for NJ-05 was one of House Majority PAC’s top and earliest priorities. While the district leans Republican and Garrett had been easily reelected for over a decade, the group believed that the strength of Gottheimer’s candidacy combined with the litany of negative press Garrett had received for his anti-LGBT bigotry meant Democrats had a unique opportunity for a pick-up. The group polled the race in April and found Garrett with a significant, 19-point lead over Gottheimer and that voters were initially, largely unaware of Garrett’s bigotry and extreme far-right record. However, the group’s initial poll also showed significant vulnerabilities for Garrett and that once voters were made aware of Garrett’s bigoted views and extreme record, the race moved significantly in Gottheimer’s favor.
House Majority PAC decided to launch an early media campaign exposing Garrett’s bigotry and extremism, becoming the first group on air in the race back in June. The group’s initial summer media campaign against Garrett eventually totaled more than $700,000. It included an ad, titled “Quotes,” which ran for over six weeks on cable in the district. “Quotes” amplified concerns raised about Garrett by New Jersey newspapers and spotlighted how multiple businesses had distanced themselves from Garrett in light of his bigotry. Other components of the initial campaign included a direct mail program, digital ads, and a website (www.garrettbigotry.com) which originally featured the group’s first ad, “Quotes,” and linked to articles and editorials spotlighting Garrett’s backwards rhetoric and record. HMP also worked to target NJ-05 commuters with billboards along NJ Route 17 and NJ-05 voters vacationing at the Jersey shore with a banner plane that flew on multiple summer weekends – all directing voters to the GarrettBigotry.com website.
By the end of HMP’s initial media campaign, a second poll by the group found Garrett’s lead had been cut by more than half to 8 points.
The group launched a second media campaign at the beginning of September – running a new ad, titled “Dixie,” which aired on cable for a month, called out Garrett for opposing a ban on Confederate flags in military cemeteries, and reminded voters again of his anti-LGBT views. Once again, the cable buy was augmented with a banner plane at the Jersey Shore (over Labor Day weekend) and billboards directing voters to the new ad at the GarrettBigotry.com website. Following HMP’s second media campaign, the group’s polling in October showed Gottheimer had pulled into the lead in a complete turnaround of the race.
Finally, in the last two weeks of the election, HMP went up with a third ad, titled “Lonely,” which underscored how Garrett was so extreme that he had repeatedly been the only New Jersey Representative to side with the far-right fringe of his party on multiple issues. The group’s final ad aired on both NJ-05 cable and New York City broadcast – bringing HMP’s total investment in the race to more than $2.3 million.
HMP spent the following in NJ-05: $2,364,925
HMP aired the following TV ads in NJ-05: