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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 by Scott Garrett
Personal details
Born (1975-03-08) March 8, 1975 (age 48)
Livingston, New Jersey, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Marla Tusk
(m. 2006)
Children 2
Education University of Pennsylvania (BA)
Harvard University (JD)

Joshua S. Gottheimer (/ˈɡɒthmər/ got-HY-mər; born March 8, 1975) is an American attorney, writer, and public policy adviser who has served as the U.S. representative for NJ's 5th congressional district since 2017. The district stretches along the northern border of the state from densely-populated metropolitan suburbs of New York City in Bergen County, northwest through exurban and rural territory in northern Passaic and Sussex Counties.

A member of the Democratic Party, Gottheimer was a speechwriter for Bill Clinton and served as an adviser to the presidential campaigns of Wesley Clark, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton. He has also worked for Burson Cohn & Wolfe, the Federal Communications Commission, Ford Motor Company, and Microsoft.

Early life and education

Josh Gottheimer FCC
Gottheimer in 2012

Gottheimer was born in Livingston, New Jersey, on March 8, 1975. At the age of 16, Gottheimer served as a U.S. Senate page for Frank Lautenberg, a senator from New Jersey. Through high school and college, Gottheimer held internships with C-SPAN, the U.S. Senate secretary, and Tom Foley, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Gottheimer graduated from West Essex High School, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard Law School. He was a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. While in college, he served on the "rapid response team" for Bill Clinton's 1996 reelection campaign. After Clinton's reelection, Gottheimer attended Pembroke College, Oxford on a Thouron Award, studying toward a DPhil in modern history.

Early career

Gottheimer joined the Clinton administration as a speechwriter in 1998, at age 23, working in the administration until its end in 2001. While attending law school, he worked as an adviser for Wesley Clark's 2004 presidential campaign, John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, and Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign. After the 2004 election, Gottheimer worked for the Ford Motor Company, then became an executive vice president at Burson Cohn & Wolfe. From 2010 to 2012, he worked for the Federal Communications Commission, where he led an initiative related to broadband internet. He subsequently became a strategist at Microsoft.

U.S. House of Representatives



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

Gottheimer attracted more attention than previous challengers to Garrett due to his fundraising ability and ties to the Clintons. 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." 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." Among those who donated were three former Clinton press secretaries and two former Clinton chiefs of staff.

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." 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.

Gottheimer defeated Garrett, 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. It was the most expensive House race in New Jersey history. He was sworn in on January 3, 2017– the first Democrat to represent this district since 1981, when it was numbered the 7th District (it has been the 5th since 1983).


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.


Gottheimer won a third term in 2020, defeating Republican nominee Frank Pallotta with 53% of the vote. As in his previous campaigns, he lost three of the district's four counties, but swamped Pallotta in the district's share of Bergen County, this time by 52,600 votes, more than his overall margin of 32,800 votes. He was also helped by Joe Biden carrying the district with 52% of the vote.


Gottheimer is running for reelection in the district for the 2022 elections.

In May 2022, Gottheimer became involved in the Republican primary contest that would decide his eventual general election opponent. He sent mail to Republican voters that compared Pallotta, a repeat candidate whom Gottheimer had already beaten in the previous House election, to former Republican president Donald Trump.

Pallotta won the primary, defeating front-runner and US Marine Corps combat veteran Nick De Gregorio by 1,475 votes, setting up a general election that Gottheimer is now heavily favored to win.


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. 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.

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

Gottheimer voted to impeach Trump a second time following the January 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol.

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

  • Blue Dog Coalition
  • New Democrat Coalition
  • Climate Solutions Caucus
  • Problem Solvers Caucus

Electoral history

2016 Democratic primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joshua S. Gottheimer 43,250 100.0
Total votes 43,250 100.0
New Jersey's 5th congressional district, 2016
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
Democrat 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
Democrat hold
2020 Democratic primary results
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
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.

He is also co-author, with Mary Frances Berry, of Power of Words (2011), a book about Barack Obama's speeches.

Personal life

Gottheimer is a native of North Caldwell, and he currently resides in Wyckoff. He is Jewish and a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. He married Marla Tusk in 2006. Together, they have two children.

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