- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Democrats toppled longtime Republican congressman E. Scott Garrett in northern New Jersey on Tuesday by recruiting a strong challenger and crafting a narrative around the incumbent that sapped his financial support.

The Associated Press called the race for Josh Gottheimer, a former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, even as it projected that Republicans would preserve their House majority.

Mr. Garrett, a fiscally conservative member of the House Freedom Caucus, had won each of his seven previous elections with at least 55 percent of the vote. He took a mixed approach to Donald Trump’s controversial candidacy, condemning his caught-on-tape remarks about women from a 2005 Access Hollywood taping but while saying he planned to vote for the GOP nominee.

Yet the congressman’s main stumbling block was of his own making, after Politico last year reported he told GOP colleagues behind closed doors that he refused to pay dues to the National Republican Congressional Committee because it had supported gay candidates.

Mr. Garrett says his stance has been misconstrued, and that he only wanted the party to back candidates that agree with the GOP’s longstanding platform defining marriage as a bond between a man and women.

Mr. Gottheimer, meanwhile, tried to shirk party labels during the race, casting himself as someone who is fed up with partisan bickering and has the professional background — his resume includes Microsoft, Ford Motor Company and the Federal Communications Commission — to get things done.

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