John Bartlett, a Passaic County freeholder who had been running to be the Democratic Party’s challenger to Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen next year, said this morning that he is suspending his congressional campaign. Bartlett said that he will instead pursue a third term on the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2018.
“I want to express my gratitude to the thousands of supporters who gave of their time, talent, and treasure to support our campaign for change in the 11th Congressional District,” Bartlett said. “I have always been called to public service by the example of my family, by the tenets of my faith, and by the inspiration of my constituents in five years as a Passaic County Freeholder. That call to serve has been bolstered at every turn by the support and kind words of so many across the 11th District and beyond.”
“This is a moment of opportunity for change in Washington, but it does not appear to be my moment to be the agent of that change,” Bartlett added. “I wish the remaining candidates well, and I am looking forward to running alongside the Democratic candidate in 2018 and making our case to my 130,000+ constituents in the 11th District.”
Mikie Sherrill, the former Navy pilot and prosecutor who was the first to declare again Frelinghuysen, thanked Bartlett for his efforts. “I want to congratulate Freeholder Bartlett for running a great campaign,” she wrote on Twitter. “Freeholder Bartlett is a valuable public servant and I look forward to coming together in an effort to flip the 11th in 2018.” Rep. Frelinghuysen, a Republican, has served in Congress since 1995. Verona was gerrymandered into the 11th district in 2012.
I want to congratulate Freeholder Bartlett for running a great campaign. Freeholder Bartlett is a valuable public servant and I look forward to coming together in an effort to flip the 11th in 2018.
— Mikie Sherrill (@MikieSherrill) December 11, 2017
“John’s passion for public service and the things he’s accomplished for his constituents in Passaic County are remarkable,” said Governor-elect Phil Murphy. “John and his wife Khyati were some of the first people I got to know as a candidate for office, and their support and friendship mean the world to me and Tammy. Having seen him in action, I have no doubt that John will continue to serve in meaningful ways for years to come.”
Four people remain in the race for the Democratic nomination, including Sherrill: Mark Washburne, a County College of Morris professor; Jack Gebbia, a former U.S Army National Guard member; and Tamara Harris, a family advocate who lives in the Claridge House in Verona. Sherrill has been the powerhouse fundraiser among the Democrats, with $744,014 raised through September 30, compared to $260,041 for Bartlett. Frelinghuysen, whose mother was an heir to the Procter & Gamble fortune, raised $1.2 million as of September 30, more than twice what he had raised by that point in his previous campaign.