Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ5) has served New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District since 2003. During the last decade, he has quickly risen to become one of New Jersey’s prominent conservatives. The table was almost set for Democrats to oust one of their conservative targets in 2012. However, a change of plans by then-Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ9) to challenge Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ9) in a primary left the Democratic field wide open in CD-5. That wide open field would dwindle before a candidate, Adam Gussen, won his party’s nomination, but would ultimately lose to Garrett.
Before Garrett served the 5th Congressional District, Marge Roukema represented the 7th and 5th Congressional Districts over 22 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. Roukema is the last woman to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Congress. Between the two, that equals 34 years (counting the rest of Garrett’s current term) of Republican dominance in the district. The new map redrawn in 2011 gave some hope to Democrats that the right candidate could reclaim the district for the party.
With that in mind, one name that recently came to mind was the person who served in the district for six years before Roukema was elected and a wishful choice for the Democratic Party. That person is former Congressman Andrew Maguire. Speculation was quite high before Maguire snuffed out hope for many Democrats.
As Maguire would outline,
“Over the past six months I have considered seeking the Democratic nomination for Congress in the recently redrawn 5th Congressional District in 2014. The response from Democrats, Republicans, Independents and friends across the district has been outstanding and deeply gratifying. I have decided not to seek the nomination. But the 5th CD still needs a member of Congress who is in touch, committed to progress and opposed to partisanship, and who works on solutions – for jobs and economic growth, transportation and infrastructure, environmental health, gun safety, marriage equality, immigration reform, and more – that will make our cities and towns attractive and appealing places for individuals and families to live.”
For all their work, Maguire gave praise to both Passaic County Chairman John Currie and Bergen County Chairman Lou Stellato. He also noted Sussex County Chairman Mike Busche and incoming Warren County Chairman Tom Palmieri as well.
Maguire would add,
“I will do everything I can to support and assist Chairman Stellato, the Democratic organizations in the other counties, and the nominee of the Democratic Party to build a strong and unified campaign that will bring success in November 2014.”
Maguire originally left Congress to run for the U.S. Senate in 1982 finishing second to the late Frank Lautenberg in that year’s Democratic primary. Lautenberg would go on to serve in the U.S. Senate for most of the following 30 years. Maguire has held multiple roles over the last three decades and his returned voice to the 5th Congressional District will certainly be an aide for Democrats. However, I’m sure they would have loved to see him follow the path of a few candidates in 2012 around the country who were looking to return to Congress after several years away.