BERGEN COUNTY - An incumbent New Jersey congressman who has been in office since 2002 is being accused by some as being anti-homosexual, and some say it may cause him to lose his seat in the upcoming election.
Rep. Scott Garrett is New Jersey’s 5th District congressman. He is running for his eighth term.
Garrett’s Democratic challenger, former President Bill Clinton speechwriter Josh Gotteimer, has said that Garrett is a vulnerable incumbent. Some political watchers say that he is also the New Jersey politician most likely to lose his seat in November.
Garrett’s critics have accused him of being prejudiced against New Jersey’s gay community because of his stance on same-sex marriage and other LGBT issues. They also refer to comments that Garrett reportedly made last year when he allegedly told House colleagues that he would not contribute to a Republican Campaign Fund because it had supported gay candidates.
“These are just archaic beliefs. The man is a bigot. He’s supported by a band of bigots,” says Rep. Tim Eustace.
Garrett has not denied that he made the remarks.
“I think that he's having a hard time, especially because he won't support the Republican Party if one of the candidates happened to be openly gay, which is insane,” says Garden State Equality’s Christian Fuscarino.
The congressman declined to be interviewed by News 12 New Jersey. His office says that he is in Washington, D. C. and is busy with votes at the Capitol.
Campaign manager Sarah Neibart released a statement that said, "Congressman Garrett has consistently fought for the interests of his constituents and is grateful for the continued support of people across the Fifth District.”
The statement continued, “Mr. Gottheimer and his crony Clinton buddies are sadly still spreading lies in their attempt to desperately paint Congressman Garrett as vulnerable - when in fact the voters have proven this narrative to be false.”
Garrett will face two Republican opponents in New Jersey’s June 7 primary.