Scott Garrett

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For other people named Scott Garrett, see Scott Garrett (disambiguation).
Scott Garrett
Scott Garrett official congressional photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 5th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2003
Preceded by Marge Roukema
Member of the New Jersey General Assembly
from the 24th district
In office
January 14, 1992 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Robert E. Littell
Succeeded by Alison Littell McHose
Personal details
Born (1959-07-09) July 9, 1959 (age 56)
Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Ellen Garrett
Residence Wantage, New Jersey
Alma mater Montclair State University
Rutgers University, Camden
Religion Christianity

Ernest Scott Garrett (born July 9, 1959) is the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 5th congressional district, serving since 2003. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district includes much of the northern-most and western-most portions of the state. He previously served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1992 to 2003.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Garrett earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Montclair State University in 1981 and a Juris Doctor from Rutgers School of Law – Camden in 1984.[1]

Born in Bergen County in the town of Englewood, Garrett spent much of his life living in North Jersey. He is a proponent of preserving open space and protecting the Highlands, the Musconetcong River and the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. He was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 1991, and was re-elected five times, serving from 1992 to 2003, representing the 24th legislative district, which covered all of Sussex County and several municipalities in Morris and Hunterdon counties.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Committee assignments[edit]

Party leadership[edit]

  • Republican Policy Committee


On May 8, 2013, Garrett introduced the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act of 2014 (H.R. 1872; 113th Congress), a bill that would modify the budgetary treatment of federal credit programs.[2] The bill would require that the cost of direct loans or loan guarantees be recognized in the federal budget on a fair-value basis using guidelines set forth by the Financial Accounting Standards Board.[2] The bill would also require the federal budget to reflect the net impact of programs administered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.[2] The changes made by the bill would mean that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were counted on the budget instead of considered separately and would mean that the debt of those two programs would be included in the national debt.[3] These programs themselves would not be changed, but how they are accounted for in the United States federal budget would be. The goal of the bill is to improve the accuracy of how some programs are accounted for in the federal budget.[4]

Political positions[edit]

Garrett is a member of the Republican Study Committee, Liberty Caucus[5] and the Freedom Caucus.[6]

Foreign policy[edit]

In 2007, Garrett led nineteen US lawmakers to introduce a bill in the House of Representatives backing UN membership for Taiwan, contrary to U.S. policy since Nixon.[7] Garrett is a staunch supporter of military aid to Israel as well as sanctions against Iran.

Domestic policy[edit]


Garrett supports a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2006, he supported H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.[8]

In 2008, he opposed H.R. 5767, the Payment Systems Protection Act (a bill that sought to place a moratorium on enforcement of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act while the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve defined "unlawful Internet gambling"). Garrett voted to allow oil and gas drilling off the shore of New Jersey.[9] He voted against restrictions on "price gouging" by oil companies,[10] against child safety locks on handguns, and against emergency funding for Hurricane Katrina victims.[11] He was one of four members of the House of Representatives to vote against an extension of unemployment benefits.[12]

Garrett was the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014, during the United States federal government shutdown of 2013.[13] He was also the only member of the New Jersey congressional delegation to refuse to sign a letter urging the House to provide relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy. He was one of 11 Congressmen to vote against providing aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.[14]


As a state legislator, he once proposed public schools teach intelligent design alongside evolution.[15]

In July 2007, Garrett proposed an amendment to strike earmarked money in a spending bill for native Alaskan and Hawaiian educational programs.[16] Congressman Don Young of Alaska defended the funds on the floor of the House, saying, "You want my money, my money."[16] Young went on to suggest that conservative Republicans such as Garrett lost the Republicans their majority in the 2006 election by challenging spending earmarks, and made several critical remarks about the state of New Jersey.[16] While Garrett did not ask for an official reprimand, other conservative Republicans took exception to Young's remarks that the funds in question represented his money. Members of the Republican Study Committee gave Garrett a standing ovation later in the day during the group's weekly meeting.[16]


In 2006, Garrett was the only congressman from New Jersey to vote against the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, citing his opposition to requirements to print non-English ballots.[17][18]


Garrett led a drive to demand the immediate resignation of Governor Jim McGreevey after he admitted to an extramarital affair with a male state employee. McGreevey announced that he would stay in office until November 15, 2004. Had McGreevey resigned before September 8, 2004, there would have been a special election at the same time as that year's presidential election. Garrett started a petition on his campaign web site demanding a special election. According to his campaign manager, it received 10,000 responses.

In November 2009, Garrett met at the United States Capitol with protesting "tea party" constituents. After birthers harangued him for several minutes, he agreed President Barack Obama should produce an original birth certificate to verify his eligibility to be President of the United States.[19][20]

In 2015, he refused to pay GOP campaign arm dues to the National Republican Congressional Committee because he said they were "actively recruiting homosexual candidates and had supported gay candidates in the past."[21] Garrett later clarified his remarks, saying that he is opposed to same-sex marriage due to his faith, but that he does not "have malice" toward any group of people.[22]


Garrett is considered the most conservative member of the New Jersey delegation,[according to whom?] and one of the most conservative congressmen ever to represent the state.[citation needed] He has a lifetime ACU[clarification needed] rating of 99.6, none of New Jersey's other congressmen have ratings higher than 69.[23][not in citation given] Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave Garrett a grade of C- (2006) and B (2007–08). Disabled American Veterans gave Garrett grades of 0% (2005, 2004), 50% (2003), and 100% (2006).[24] The Veterans of Foreign Wars endorsed him in 2006.[25] In his 2012 reelection bid, Garrett carried the support of Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum political action committee.[26] Garrett is a member of the Freedom Caucus.[27]

Political campaigns[edit]

Garrett ran for Congress unsuccessfully against incumbent Congresswoman Marge Roukema in the 1998 and 2000 Republican primaries, falling short both times with 48% of the vote.[28] He received support from several groups who had long felt chagrin at Roukema's moderate voting record; Garrett had by this time established himself as one of the most conservative members of the General Assembly.

In 2002, Roukema opted not to run for a 12th term. Garrett won a contested five-way primary with 45% of the vote over State Assemblyman David C. Russo (26%) and State Senator Gerald Cardinale (25%), who had received Roukema's endorsement.[29][30]

In the 2002 general election, Garrett faced Democratic candidate Anne Sumers, an ophthalmologist and former Republican. Roukema did not endorse Garrett in the general election. Roukema did not endorse Sumers either, even though part of Sumers' strategy was to portray herself as a "Roukema Republican" and win support in Roukema's old Bergen County base (Bergen County is the biggest county in the 5th district). Sumers' chances decreased significantly after she made several ill-advised comments about the U.S.-Taliban conflict on an Internet message board.[31] The race essentially ended at that point, and Garrett won in a rout, 60% to 38% – even winning Roukema's former base in Bergen County.[32][33]

Garrett was reelected in 2004 with 58% of the vote. He declined to debate his opponent Anne Wolfe, several times, saying he had conflicts with his schedule in Washington D.C. Eventually he debated her twice. In 2006, Garrett defeated his Republican primary rival, Michael J. Cino of Bergen County. In the November 2006 election, Garrett defeated Paul Aronsohn, a former employee of the U.S. State Department during the Clinton Administration and Independent R. Matthew Fretz to win a third term. However, in this election, he only won 55% of the vote—the lowest percentage for a Republican in the district since it assumed its current configuration in 1983. The 2006 election was close enough to attract the attention of the DCCC, who targeted the 5th District for a pickup in 2008. The Democratic Party nominated Dennis Shulman, a highly respected rabbi and psychologist, as their nominee in 2008. Garrett defeated Shulman 56%–42% in the 2008 general election.[citation needed]

In 2010, Garrett defeated Tod Theise, receiving 65% of the vote.

In 2014, Garrett faced Democratic nominee Roy Cho. Garrett won the midterm election.[34]

Electoral history[edit]

New Jersey's 5th congressional district: Results 2002–2010[35]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2002 Anne Sumers 76,504 38% Scott Garrett 118,881 59% Michael J. Cino Lower Tax Independent 4,466 2%
2004 D. Anne Wolfe 122,259 41% Scott Garrett 171,220 58% Victor Kaplan Libertarian 1,857 1% Thomas Phelan NJ Conservative 1,515 1% *
2006 Paul Aronsohn 89,503 44% Scott Garrett 112,142 55% R. Matthew Fretz An Independent Voice 2,597 1%
2008 Dennis Shulman 123,512 42% Scott Garrett 165,271 56% Ed Fanning Green 4,950 2%
2010 Tod Theise 60,045 33% Scott Garrett 119,478 65% Ed Fanning Green 2,262 1% Mark Quick Independent 1,646 <1%
2012 Adam Gussen 130,102 43% Scott Garrett 167,503 55% Patricia Alessandrini Green 6,770 2%
2014 Roy Cho 81,808 43% Scott Garrett 104,678 55%

*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2004, Socialist Party USA candidate Gregory Pason received 574 votes. In 2010 James Radigan received 336 votes

Personal life[edit]

Garrett is a member of Lafayette Federated Church in Lafayette Township, New Jersey.


  1. ^ "Full Biography". Retrieved 31 October 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "H.R. 1872 – CBO" (PDF). United States Congress. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Kasperowicz, Pete (28 March 2014). "House to push budget reforms next week". The Hill. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Kasperowicz, Pete (4 April 2014). "Next week: Bring out the budget". The Hill. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "History of the RLC". Retrieved August 7, 2015. 
  6. ^ French, Lauren (26 January 2015). "9 Republicans launch House Freedom Caucus". Politico. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  7. ^ The Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomes legislation introduced by 19 lawmakers, The China Post, November 11, 2007
  8. ^ Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4411
  9. ^ House votes to lift drilling ban for offshore natural gas and oil, Star-Ledger, June 30, 2006[dead link]
  10. ^ "Garrett hit for vote against gas price-gouging ban", The Record (Bergen County), May 6, 2006.
  11. ^ Roll Call: Further Emergency Supplemental Appropriations, Hurricane Katrina, 2005, September 8, 2005
  12. ^ Bush Signs Extension of Federal Unemployment Benefits, KOMO-TV, January 8, 2003
  13. ^ Garrett's vote for federal government shutdown of 2013,; accessed October 31, 2014.
  14. ^ 'The lone wolf congressman",, January 2013; accessed October 31, 2014.
  15. ^ Carroll, Kathleen (September 30, 2005). "Garrett backs lessons on intelligent design". The Record (Bergen County). Archived from the original on 2007-03-15. Retrieved 2009-12-02. ...Garrett is calling on school boards throughout New Jersey to include lessons on intelligent design alongside evolution... 
  16. ^ a b c d North to Alaska, The Politico dated July 17, 2007.
  17. ^ Page, Jeffrey. "The unending struggle for voting rights", The Record (Bergen County), July 18, 2006. Accessed February 10, 2016.
  18. ^ Llorente, Elizabeth. "Group rallies against Garrett", The Record (Bergen County), July 21, 2006. Accessed February 10, 2016. "And recently, Rep. Scott Garrett, R-Wantage, was the only member of New Jersey's congressional delegation to vote against extending the Voting Rights Act, because he opposed a provision that called for printing ballots in languages other than English."
  19. ^ Video: No Obama Birth Certificate 11/5/09 Scott Garrett DC House Call, NJCommonSense, November 5, 2009
  20. ^ Weigel, David (November 18, 2009). "GOP Rep. Garrett: ‘I Agree’ That Obama Should Produce Birth Certificate". The Washington Independent. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  21. ^ "GOP Lawmaker: No cash for Campaign arm because it backs Gays". 
  22. ^ Salant, Jonathan D. (January 16, 2016). "N.J. Rep. Scott Garrett: I have no malice toward gays". Retrieved 11 February 2016. 
  23. ^ Garrett ratings,; accessed October 31, 2014.
  24. ^ "Project Vote Smart – Representative Scott Garrett – Interest Group Ratings". Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  25. ^ "VFW Endorses Garrett For Re-election". Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  26. ^ "Candidates endorsed by Eagle Forum PAC, October 31, 2012". Retrieved November 3, 2012. 
  27. ^ Bialik, Carl; Bycoffe, Aaron (25 September 2015). "The Hard-Line Republicans Who Pushed John Boehner Out". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2015-09-28. 
  28. ^ Roukema retires, County News Online, November 26, 2001
  29. ^ Kocieniewski, David. "Forrester to Represent G.O.P. in Race to Unseat Torricelli", The New York Times, June 5, 2002. Accessed March 30, 2008. "In the Republican primary to replace Representative Marge Roukema, who is retiring from her Fifth Congressional District seat, State Assemblyman E. Scott Garrett, defeated State Senator Gerald Cardinale, whom Mrs. Roukema had endorsed. With all precincts reporting, Mr. Garrett had 46 percent, to 25 percent for Mr. Cardinale and 26 percent for Assemblyman David C. Russo."
  30. ^ Barnes Pleads Guilty, Primaries, & Georgia Scott; 38th Column dated July 5, 2002
  31. ^ Patriotism becomes nasty campaign issue,, July 5, 2002; accessed October 31, 2014.
  32. ^ In Jersey, Conservative and Moderate Republicans Vie for Control of Party, jrn/columbia/edu; accessed July 31, 2006.
  33. ^ Barone, Michael; Cohen, Richard E. "New Jersey 5th District". Almanac of American Politics 2004. Washington, D.C.: National Journal Group. p. 1043. ISBN 978-0892341054. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  34. ^
  35. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Marge Roukema
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 5th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Trent Franks
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Raúl Grijalva