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The state of the race in CD-5

Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ5), left, and Roy Cho, right, will face off this November in the 5th Congressional District.
Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ5), left, and Roy Cho, right, will face off this November in the 5th Congressional District. Herald

Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ5) is again a top target for Democrats. Democrats are hoping that Roy Cho can put together a campaign that can finally oust the most conservative member of New Jersey's congressional delegation. Two years ago, the Democratic Party may have had its best chance to defeat the Republican congressman if then Congressman Steve Rothman decided to challenge Garrett as opposed to challenging Congressman Bill Pascrell. It would have allowed the party to keep both congressmen and their one member advantage among the state's congressional representation.

While defeating Garrett is a tough challenge, Cho has gone fast and furious in this race.

As Cho has stated,

Asian-Americans, and specifically Korean-Americans, we've done an incredible job of climbing up the socioeconomic ladder. We have covered the board in achieving the American Dream in this country. But our rates of political participation are still very, very low. If you want something in this incredible country, it's your responsibility to go out there and participate, take a risk, and engage.

As he would add,

I want to be able to bring the business and legal communities to the table and show that I understand their interests. The Korean-American community wants to be activated. They know that we don't have a remember of Congress right now. We want to show people that we are part of the American fabric as well.

Besides trying to defeat a six term incumbent in a Republican leaning district, Cho is fighting against over 80 years of history of the 5th Congressional District electing a Republican.

State Senator Robert Gordon (D-38) considered challenging Garrett himself and feels strongly about Cho's chances of knocking off Garrett this November.

For Gordon,

The race is definitely winnable. It's a new district, it's a more Democratic district. The six key Democratic towns represent more than 20 percent of the voter turnout. Roy does well in those towns, attracts a significant percentage of socially progressive, moderate Republicans in the state Legislative District 39 part of the congressional district, plus a majority of the Democrats elsewhere in Bergen, Sussex and Warren counties, and it's not a huge victory, but it's a victory.

Working in Cho's favor in this race is his ability to fundraise well; something challengers can easily find themselves struggling with against an incumbent candidate. During the first fundraising quarter of 2014, Cho raised over $250,000 and outraised Garrett in the process. Cho has nearly half a million raised for his campaign as of about a month ago. Cho still has a long way to go to match the roughly $4 million Garrett has raised or has on hand.

In light of his strong first quarter fundraising, Cho would voice;

“I am very proud and grateful for the record-breaking financial support I’ve received from supporters in the form of contributions large and small. With Scott Garrett as our Congressman, northern New Jersey has suffered the very worst of what the Tea Party stands for -- including gridlock in Washington where nothing gets done. Voters are beginning to see beyond Garrett’s never-ending posturing while coming to know his real record."

Cho will need to continue to build upon his strong first quarter and increase his name ID as will need to branch out and fight for each and every vote in the district. The district tilts in favor of Garrett and the Republican Party so it will be an uphill climb. Time will tell what type of race this could become if Cho builds steam as the year goes on.

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