On Wednesday, Josh Gottheimer of Wyckoff, the Democratic candidate from New Jersey’s fifth congressional district, stood outside Teaneck’s municipal building with Senator Joseph Lieberman, who represented Connecticut in the United States Senate for 24 years, as Senator Lieberman endorsed his run.
Senator Lieberman now is one of three co-chairs of No Labels, a group that believes that compromise is neither a dirty word nor a moral weakness but instead a prerequisite to successful leadership. No Labels, according to its website, wants to work for the election of people “who combine ideological independence and common sense with a willingness to reach across the aisle to get things done.”
As he endorsed Mr. Gottheimer, Senator Lieberman gave him No Label’s Problem Solver Seal of Approval.
“If we could make a candidate to order, it would be Josh Gottheimer,” Mr. Lieberman said, citing Mr. Gottheimer’s fiscal conservatism, general moderation, and bipartisan approach.
Senator Lieberman, who ran for vice president in 2000, was the first Jew ever on a major party’s presidential ticket. He and Al Gore lost that election, but as we all knew, it was nail-bitingly close. Since then, and particularly since he retired from the Senate in 2013, he has devoted himself to campaigning for moderation, bipartisanship, and civility in government.
Mr. Gottheimer, a former Microsoft executive and Clinton staffer (that was Bill Clinton – Mr. Gottheimer, who now is 41, was 23 then) who is running as a moderate, pledges himself to bipartisanship, and has been willing to buck his own party by vocally opposing last summer’s Iran deal, is facing Scott Garrett, who has represented the district since 2003. Mr. Garrett, who is deeply conservative and a founding member of the Republican Freedom Caucus, has been a formidable opponent in earlier elections; this year, however, the race is close, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hopes that the seat might come over to its column.
Both Mr. Gottheimer, who is Jewish, and Senator Lieberman talked about their support for Israel; Mr. Gottheimer presented it as one of the issues closest to his heart, not only for Israel’s sake but because its safety is so important for keeping Americans safe.
Teaneck’s mayor, Mohammed Hameeduddin, also endorsed Mr. Gottheimer. Teaneck is nonpartisan, he said, so it is out of character for him to give such an endorsement, and no doubt it will anger some constituents, but he is doing it nonetheless. “I’m doing it because I’m standing for something,” he said.