Scott Garrett: Wikis


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Scott Garrett

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 5th district
Assumed office 
January 3, 2003
Preceded by Marge Roukema

Born July 9, 1959 (1959-07-09) (age 50)
Englewood, New Jersey
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Ellen Garrett
Residence Wantage, New Jersey
Alma mater Montclair State University
Rutgers University
Occupation attorney
Religion Non-denominational Christian

Ernest Scott Garrett (born July 9, 1959, in Englewood, New Jersey) is a member of the United States House of Representatives. He is a Republican and has represented New Jersey's 5th congressional district since January 2003 (map). The district includes much of the northwestern portion of the state. Garrett serves as a member of both the House Budget Committee and the House Financial Services Committee.


Political career and background

Prior to being elected to the House, Garrett served in the New Jersey General Assembly (the lower house of the New Jersey Legislature) from 1990 to 2002 representing the 24th legislative district, which covers all of Sussex County and several municipalities in Morris and Hunterdon counties.

Garrett earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from Montclair State University in 1981 and a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Rutgers School of Law - Camden in 1984.

Garrett ran for Congress unsuccessfully against incumbent Congresswoman Marge Roukema in the 1998 and 2000 Republican primaries, falling short both times with 48% of the vote.[1] He received support from several groups who had long felt chagrin at Roukema's moderate voting record; Garrett had by this time established himself as one of the most conservative members of the General Assembly.

In 2002, Roukema opted not to run for a 12th term. Garrett won a contested five-way primary with 45% of the vote over State Assemblyman David C. Russo (26%) and State Senator Gerald Cardinale (25%), who had received Roukema's endorsement.[2][3]

In the 2002 general election, Garrett faced Democrat Anne Sumers, an opthalmologist and former Republican. Roukema did not endorse Garrett in the general election. This was very unusual for an incumbent of the same party, even though Garrett and Roukema had faced each other in bruising primaries in past years. However, she did not endorse Sumers either, even though part of Sumers' strategy was to portray herself as a "Roukema Republican" and win support in Roukema's old Bergen County base (Bergen County is the biggest county in the 5th district). Sumers' chances decreased significantly after she made several ill-advised comments about the U.S.-Taliban conflict on an Internet message board.[4] The race essentially ended at that point, and Garrett won in a rout, 60% to 38%--even winning Roukema's former base in Bergen County.[5][6]

Garrett was reelected in 2004 with 58% of the vote. He declined to debate his opponent Anne Wolfe, several times, claiming to have conflicts with his schedule in Washington D.C. Eventually he debated her twice. In 2006, Garrett defeated his Republican primary rival, Michael J. Cino of Bergen County. In the November 2006 election, Garrett defeated Paul Aronsohn (a former employee of the U.S. State Department during the Clinton Administration) and Independent R. Matthew Fretz to win a third term. However, in this election, he only won 55% of the vote--the lowest percentage for a Republican in the district since it assumed its current configuration in 1983. This was particularly remarkable since the current 5th was thought to be more conservative than the area Roukema represented for 22 years.

The 2006 election was close enough to attract the attention of the DCCC, who targeted the 5th District for a pickup in 2008. The Democrats nominated Dennis Shulman, a highly-respected rabbi and psychologist, as their nominee in 2008. Despite the Democrats' increased efforts, Garrett defeated Shulman 56%-42% in the 2008 General Election.

Garrett is a member of Lafayette Federated Church in Lafayette, New Jersey.


Committee assignments

Party leadership

  • Republican Policy Committee

Political positions and statements

Garrett is by far the most conservative member of the New Jersey delegation, and one of the most conservative members ever to represent the state in Congress. He has received perfect 100 ratings from the American Conservative Union throughout his career. This is very unusual for Republicans from New Jersey, a longstanding bastion of moderate Republicanism. In 2005, only 38 members of Congress nationwide and only two other members from Northeastern states — Bill Shuster and Joe Pitts, both from Pennsylvania — scored perfect 100s.[7] New Jersey's five other Republican Congressmembers have ACU rankings ranging from 60 to 76.[8]

Garrett is a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2006, he supported H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act[9]. In 2008, he opposed H.R. 5767, the Payment Systems Protection Act (a bill that sought to place a moratorium on enforcement of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act while the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve defined "unlawful Internet gambling").

In July 2007, Congressman Garrett proposed an amendment to strike money in a spending bill for native Alaskan and Hawaiian educational programs.[10] Congressman Don Young of Alaska defended the funds on the floor of the House, saying, "You want my money, my money."[10] Young went on to suggest that conservative Republicans such as Garrett lost the Republicans their majority in the 2006 election by challenging spending earmarks, and made several critical remarks about the state of New Jersey.[10] While Garrett did not ask for an official reprimand, other conservative Republicans took exception to Young's remarks that the funds in question represented his money. Members of the Republican Study Committee gave Garrett a standing ovation later in the day during the group's weekly meeting.[10]

Garrett led a drive to demand the immediate resignation of Governor Jim McGreevey after he admitted to an extramarital affair with a male state employee. McGreevey announced that he would stay in office until November 15, 2004. Had McGreevey resigned before September 8, 2004, there would have been a special election at the same time as that year's presidential election. Garrett started a petition on his campaign web site demanding a special election. According to his campaign manager, it received 10,000 responses, but it is unknown how many signatures were actually from New Jersey.[citation needed]

Although Garrett promoted himself as a "mainstream tax-cutter that President Bush needs in Congress,"[11] he broke with the Bush Administration several times. For example, he was one of several House conservatives who joined Democrats in opposing the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003. Garrett was the only congressman from New Jersey to vote against the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act for purposes of states' rights.[12]. Furthermore, he led nineteen US lawmakers to introduce a bill in the House of Representatives backing UN membership for Taiwan, contrary to U.S. policy since Nixon.[13].

He also serves on the Liberty Caucus (sometimes called the Liberty Committee), a group of libertarian-minded congressmen.[14] Other members include Ron Paul of Texas, Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee, Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, Zach Wamp of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona.[15]

Garrett was the only member of the New Jersey delegation to vote for oil and gas drilling off the shore of New Jersey.[16] Garrett was also the only member to vote against restrictions on "price gouging" by oil companies,[17] to vote against child safety locks on handguns, and to vote against emergency funding for Hurricane Katrina victims.[18] He was the only New Jersey member to vote against federal aid for household pets in case of a disaster.[19] He was one of only four members of the House of Representatives to vote against an extension of unemployment benefits.[20]

In November 2009, Garrett met at the United States Capitol with protesting "tea party" constituents. After birthers harangued him for several minutes, he agreed President Barack Obama should produce an original birth certificate to verify his eligibility to be President of the United States. [21] [22]

As a state legislator, he once proposed public schools teach intelligent design alongside evolution.[23]

Notable stances

According to the non-partisan vote-tracking website Issues 2000:[24]

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave Garret a grade of C- (2006) and B (2007–2008). Disabled American Veterans gave Garrett grades of 0% (2005, 2004), 50% (2003), and 100% (2006).[25] The Veterans of Foreign Wars endorsed him in 2006.[26]

Electoral history

New Jersey's 5th congressional district: Results 2002–2006[27]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2002 Anne Sumers 76,504 38% Scott Garrett 118,881 59% Michael J. Cino Lower Tax Independent 4,466 2%
2004 Dorothea A. Wolfe 122,259 41% Scott Garrett 171,220 58% Victor Kaplan Libertarian 1,857 1% Thomas Phelan NJ Conservative 1,515 1% *
2006 Paul Aronsohn 89,503 44% Scott Garrett 112,142 55% R. Matthew Fretz An Independent Voice 2,597 1% *
2008 Dennis Shulman 123,512 42% Scott Garrett 165,271 56% Ed Fanning Independent 4,950 2%
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2000, Helen Hamilton received 481 votes. In 2004, Socialist Party USA candidate Gregory Pason received 574 votes.


  1. ^ Roukema retires, County News Online, November 26, 2001
  2. ^ Kocieniewski, David. "Forrester to Represent G.O.P. in Race to Unseat Torricelli", The New York Times, June 5, 2002. Accessed March 30, 2008. "In the Republican primary to replace Representative Marge Roukema, who is retiring from her Fifth Congressional District seat, State Assemblyman E. Scott Garrett, defeated State Senator Gerald Cardinale, whom Mrs. Roukema had endorsed. With all precincts reporting, Mr. Garrett had 46 percent, to 25 percent for Mr. Cardinale and 26 percent for Assemblyman David C. Russo."
  3. ^ Barnes Pleads Guilty, Primaries, & Georgia Scott; 38th Column dated July 5, 2002
  4. ^ Patriotism becomes nasty campaign issue |
  5. ^ In Jersey, Conservative and Moderate Republicans Vie for Control of Party, accessed July 31, 2006
  6. ^ Barone, Michael; Cohen, Richard E.. "New Jersey 5th District". Almanac of American Politics 2004. Washington, DC: National Journal Group. p. 1043. ISBN 0-902134-06-8. 
  7. ^ U.S. House of Representatives Standouts: 2005 — Best and Brightest, accessed July 9, 2006
  8. ^ ACU Rankings by State Delegation, accessed July 9, 2006
  9. ^ Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4411
  10. ^ a b c d North to Alaska, The Politico dated July 17, 2007.
  11. ^ Archive of Garrett's campaign site at
  12. ^ The unending struggle for voting rights, The Record (Bergen County), July 18, 2006
  13. ^ US introduces bill backing UN membership for Taiwan, The Times of India, November 10, 2007
  14. ^ "The Liberty Committee". Retrieved 2007-06-24. 
  15. ^ Caldwell, Christopher (2007-07-22). "The Antiwar, Anti-Abortion, Anti-Drug-Enforcement-Administration, Anti-Medicare Candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  16. ^ House votes to lift drilling ban for offshore natural gas and oil, Star-Ledger, June 30, 2006
  17. ^ Garrett hit for vote against gas price-gouging ban, The Record (Bergen County), May 6, 2006
  18. ^ Roll Call: Further Emergency Supplemental Appropriations, Hurricane Katrina, 2005, September 8, 2005
  19. ^ Roll Call: Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act, May 22, 2006
  20. ^ Bush Signs Extension of Federal Unemployment Benefits, KOMO-TV, January 8, 2003
  21. ^ Video: No Obama Birth Certificate 11/5/09 Scott Garrett DC House Call, NJCommonSense, November 5, 2009
  22. ^ Weigel, David (November 18, 2009). "GOP Rep. Garrett: ‘I Agree’ That Obama Should Produce Birth Certificate". The Washington Independent. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  23. ^ Carroll, Kathleen (September 30, 2005). "Garrett backs lessons on intelligent design". The Record (Bergen County). Archived from the original on 2007-03-15. Retrieved 2009-12-02. "...Garrett is calling on school boards throughout New Jersey to include lessons on intelligent design alongside evolution..." 
  24. ^ On the Issues: Scott Garrett, accessed July 20, 2006
  25. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative Scott Garrett - Interest Group Ratings". Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  26. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative Scott Garrett - Press Release - VFW Endorses Garrett For Re-election". Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  27. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Marge Roukema
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by


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