Josh Gottheimer

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Josh Gottheimer
Josh Gottheimer Photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 5th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded byScott Garrett
Personal details
Born (1975-03-08) March 8, 1975 (age 45)
Livingston, New Jersey
Political partyDemocratic
Marla Tusk
(m. 2006)
EducationUniversity of Pennsylvania (BA)
Pembroke College, Oxford
Harvard University (JD)
WebsiteHouse website

Joshua S. Gottheimer (/ˈɡɒthmər/ GOT-hy-mər; born March 8, 1975) is an American attorney, writer, and public policy adviser serving as the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 5th congressional district. The district includes a swath of suburban and rural territory west of New York City.

Gottheimer was active in the Democratic Party as a speechwriter for Bill Clinton and as an adviser to the presidential campaigns of Wesley Clark, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton. He has also worked for Burson-Marsteller, the Federal Communications Commission, Ford Motor Company, and Microsoft.

On November 8, 2016, Gottheimer defeated incumbent Republican Scott Garrett. On November 6, 2018, he defeated Republican nominee John McCann by 14 points.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Gottheimer in 2012

Gottheimer was born in Livingston, New Jersey, on March 8, 1975.[2] At the age of 16, Gottheimer served as a United States Senate Page for Frank Lautenberg, a Senator from New Jersey. Through high school and college, Gottheimer held internships with C-SPAN, the Secretary of the United States Senate, and Tom Foley, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.[3]

Gottheimer graduated from West Essex High School, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard Law School. While at the University of Pennsylvania, he served on the "rapid response team" for Bill Clinton's 1996 reelection campaign. Following Clinton's reelection, Gottheimer attended Pembroke College, Oxford on a Thouron Award, studying toward a DPhil in modern history. He joined the Clinton administration as a speechwriter in 1998, at the age of 23,[3] working in the administration until its end in 2001. While attending law school, Gottheimer worked as an adviser for Wesley Clark's 2004 presidential campaign, John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, and Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.[4] After the 2004 election, Gottheimer worked for the Ford Motor Company and then became executive vice president for Burson-Marsteller.[3] From 2010 to 2012, he worked for the Federal Communications Commission,[5] where he led an initiative related to broadband internet.[6] He then joined Microsoft as a strategist.[7]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



In the 2016 elections, Gottheimer ran for the House of Representatives in New Jersey's 5th congressional district, a seat held by Republican Scott Garrett. Gottheimer's friend Cory Booker joined him when he officially announced his candidacy.[8]

Gottheimer attracted more attention than previous challengers to Garrett due to his fundraising ability[9] and ties to the Clintons.[10] The New York Times ran a prominent article about his Clinton ties, describing him as a protégé of the Clintons and noting that Bill and Chelsea Clinton had appeared at a recent Manhattan fundraiser for Gottheimer at which Chelsea introduced him as "something of a family member."[4] His campaign's 2015 financial filings, in which Gottheimer reported raising around $1 million through the end of September, showed that "about one dollar in six came directly from fellow alumni of the Clinton White House and campaigns...or from major donors and employees of consulting firms tied closely to the Clintons."[4] Among those who donated were three former Clinton press secretaries and two former Clinton chiefs of staff.[4]

The 5th had historically been one of the more Republican districts in New Jersey, but redistricting after the 2010 census had made it slightly more Democratic by pushing it further into Bergen County. During the campaign, Garrett criticized Gottheimer "for taking a donation from Ibrahim Al-Rashid, the son of a Saudi multimillionaire who pleaded guilty in 2014 to simple assault of his estranged wife."[11] Gottheimer and national Democrats attacked Garrett for his social conservatism, particularly comments he made about openly gay Republican candidates, arguing that these views showed Garrett was too conservative for the district.[12]

Gottheimer defeated Garrett,[13] primarily on the strength of a strong showing in the district's share of Bergen County, home to over three-fourths of the district's voters. He won Bergen by over 33,800 votes, more than double his overall margin of almost 14,900 votes.[14] It was the most expensive House race in New Jersey history.[15] He was sworn in on January 3, 2017.[16]


Gottheimer was reelected in 2018, defeating Republican nominee John McCann with 56% of the vote. While he lost three of the district's four counties, Gottheimer won a second term on the strength of carrying the district's share of Bergen County by over 51,000 votes, more than his overall margin of 41,300 votes.[17]


In the first session of the 115th United States Congress, Gottheimer was ranked the eighth most bipartisan member of the House by the Bipartisan Index, a metric published by The Lugar Center and Georgetown's McCourt School of Public Policy.[18][19] In January 2018, Gottheimer was one of six House Democrats who voted with Republicans for a short-term spending bill in an attempt to stave off a federal government shutdown.[20]

He is the Democratic co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.[21]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Political positions[edit]

Anti-Moocher Bill[edit]

On April 15, 2017, Gottheimer announced that he would be introducing the "Anti-Moocher Bill," under which states receiving more federal dollars than they contribute to the national treasury would pay their "fair share." "Why should Alabama get our federal tax dollars and get a free ride, while we're left holding the bag with higher property taxes?" he asked. "It just doesn't make sense."[27]


Gottheimer has pointed to his work with the Problem Solvers Caucus as proof that he is not "ideologically rigid." He has also said that members of Congress are more bipartisan than people think. "I think there's a bit of perception that no one talks to each other," he said. "I think people are eager to work together, but the structure doesn't encourage it. The system doesn't encourage it."[28]

Health care[edit]

He said that "we need to fix the Affordable Care Act," also known as Obamacare. "There's plenty wrong with it, whether it's the medical device tax or the Cadillac tax." But he also felt that the GOP replacement bill did not reflect an effort "to reach across the aisle."[28]


Gottheimer supports New Jersey infrastructure projects, including the Lackawanna Cut-Off and the Gateway Tunnel.[29][30]


Gottheimer said that he thought President Donald Trump "took the appropriate steps" in striking Syria in response to the 2018 use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. "There's room the president has to deal with a crisis, and I believed, if you looked at the heinous crimes and atrocities committed, poisoning your own children, that demanded a response, and I'm glad he responded."[28]

Trump and Russia[edit]

Gottheimer called for an independent commission to probe alleged ties between Trump and Russia.[28]

Trump and Ukraine[edit]

Of the possibility of impeaching Trump, Gottheimer said, "We need to make sure this is fact-driven and evidence-based. You can't prejudge something that is so solemn and obviously could have a big historical impact on our country, and you need to keep the country together."[31]

Electoral history[edit]

2016 Democratic primary results[32]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joshua S. Gottheimer 43,250 100.0
Total votes 43,250 100.0
New Jersey's 5th congressional district, 2016[33]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Josh Gottheimer 172,587 51.1
Republican Scott Garrett (incumbent) 157,690 46.7
Libertarian Claudio Belusic 7,424 2.2
Total votes 337,701 100.0
Democratic gain from Republican
2018 Democratic primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Josh Gottheimer (incumbent) 27,486 100
Total votes 27,486 100
New Jersey's 5th congressional district, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Josh Gottheimer (incumbent) 169,546 56.2
Republican John J. McCann 128,255 42.5
Libertarian James Tosone 2,115 0.7
Independent Wendy Goetz 1,907 0.6
Total votes 301,823 100.0
Democratic hold
2020 Democratic primary results[34]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Josh Gottheimer (incumbent) 52,406 66.5
Democratic Arati Kreibich 26,418 33.5
New Jersey's 5th congressional district, 2020[35]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Josh Gottheimer (incumbent) 225,175 53.2
Republican Frank Pallotta 193,333 45.6
Independent Louis Vellucci 5,128 1.2


He is the editor of Ripples of Hope (2003), a collection of American civil-rights speeches. The text of one of the speeches included in the book, which was delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma on January 25, 1965, was previously unpublished. Gottheimer acquired the text from an Alabama police consultant who had transcribed it from FBI surveillance tapes.[36]

He is also co-author, with Mary Frances Berry, of Power of Words (2011), a book about Barack Obama's speeches. "Even those who don't agree with his policies can recall the first time they heard Obama, the candidate, thunder away to a crowd of adoring listeners," wrote Berry and Gottheimer in their introduction. "Obama's words helped create a movement. Americans hung on his every word."[37]

Personal life[edit]

Gottheimer is a native of North Caldwell, and he resides in Wyckoff.[38] He is Jewish and a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.[3] He married Marla Tusk in 2006.[39] Together, they have two children, Ellie, and Ben Gottheimer .[3] Gottheimer has a net worth between $2.3 million and $10.3 million.[10]


  • Gottheimer, Josh, ed. (2003). Ripples of Hope: Great American Civil Rights Speeches. New York: Basic Civitas Books. p. 463. ISBN 0-465-02752-0.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Berry, Mary Frances; Gottheimer, Josh, eds. (2011). Power in Words: The Stories behind Barack Obama's Speeches, from the State House to the White House. Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-807-00169-1.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rep. Josh Gottheimer wins New Jersey's 5th Congressional District seat". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  2. ^ "Guide to the New Congress" (PDF). Roll Call. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 24, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e Palmer, Joanne (February 14, 2014). "'And then the phone rang…'; Wyckoff man's adventures in politics and public service". The Times of Israel. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Burns, Alexander (December 25, 2015). "Protégé of Clintons Targets U.S. Congressional Seat". The New York Times. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  5. ^ "Josh Gottheimer, Senior Counselor to the Chairman, to step down; Jordan Usdan named Acting Director of Public-Private Initiatives" (PDF) (Press release). Federal Communications Commission. June 20, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  6. ^ "FCC's Gottheimer to Lead New Broadband Public/Private Initiative". RadioResource Media Group. March 7, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  7. ^ Wingfield, Nick; Cain Miller, Claire (December 16, 2012). "Former Washington political brawler now battles for Microsoft". Business Standard. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  8. ^ Pizarro, Max. "Garrett Challenger Gottheimer Gets out of the Gate in CD5". Observer. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  9. ^ "Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg backed this N.J. candidate - The Auditor". Retrieved February 14, 2017.
  10. ^ a b Jackson, Herb (March 13, 2016). "Jackson: A 'new Democrat' alternative in 5th Congressional District". The Record. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  11. ^ Railey, Kimberly. "Gottheimer Takes Heat From Garrett Over Campaign Donation". The National. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  12. ^ "Anti-Gay Remarks Lost A Congressman Wall Street, And Maybe His House Seat".
  13. ^ "Josh Gottheimer Defeats Scott Garrett in New Jersey Congressional Race". The New York Times. November 9, 2016. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
  14. ^ "Full 2016 election results: New Jersey House 05".
  15. ^ Jackson, Herb. "Garrett-Gottheimer: NJ's most expensive House race". Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  16. ^ "Gottheimer takes seat as N.J.'s newest House member". Retrieved February 14, 2017.
  17. ^ "New Jersey - Full House results".
  18. ^ "The Lugar Center - McCourt School Bipartisan Index" (PDF). Washington, D.C.: The Lugar Center. April 24, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  19. ^ "Blue Dog Coalition Members Ranked Most Bipartisan House Democrats in 2017". Washington, D.C.: Blue Dog Coalition. April 25, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  20. ^ Jackson, Herb; Alvarado, Monsy (January 19, 2019). "As shutdown looms, Gottheimer joins Republicans on spending bill most Democrats opposed". Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  21. ^ Marcos, Cristina (February 3, 2017). "Lawmakers set up bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus for new Congress". The Hill. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  22. ^ "U.S.House Committee on Financial Services - Membership". United States House of Representatives - Committee on Financial Services. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  23. ^ "Members". Blue dog coalition. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  24. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  25. ^ "90 Current Climate Solutions Caucus Members". Citizen´s Climate Lobby. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  26. ^ Marcos, Cristina (February 3, 2017). "Lawmakers set up bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus for new Congress". The Hill. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  27. ^ Danzis, David (April 19, 2017). "Gottheimer talks economic growth, 'Anti-Moocher Bill'". New Jersey Herald. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  28. ^ a b c d Danzis, David. "Gottheimer discusses issues from his first 100 days in Congress". New Jersey Herald. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  29. ^ Moen, Katie. "Andover Twp. resolution advances Lackawanna Cut-Off railroad project". New Jersey Herald. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  30. ^ Nolan, Sarah. "Gottheimer: No one should fear driving their kids across a bridge or through a tunnel". Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  31. ^ Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (September 29, 2019). "Pelosi Pushes for Simple Message on Impeachment as Inquiry Barrels Ahead". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  32. ^ "New Jersey Primary Results". NYT. September 29, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  33. ^ "Election Information" (PDF). NJ Department of State. November 8, 2016. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  34. ^ "2020-official-primary-results-us-house.pdf" (PDF). New Jersey Division of Elections. August 9, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 13, 2020. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  35. ^ "Official General Election Results: U.S. House of Representatives" (PDF). New Jersey Department of Elections. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  36. ^ "FBI Text of Rev. King Speech Made Public". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  37. ^ "Power in Words". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  38. ^ Jackson, Herb (May 4, 2015). "Donors start backing Wyckoff man as potential Garrett challenger for Congress". Archived from the original on January 3, 2016. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  39. ^ "Marla Tusk and Josh Gottheimer". The New York Times. December 10, 2006. Retrieved January 13, 2016.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Scott Garrett
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 5th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Vicente Gonzalez
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Clay Higgins