Scott Garrett

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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
Personal details
Born main}}
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Ellen Garrett
Residence Wantage, New Jersey
Alma mater Montclair State University
Rutgers School of Law–Camden
Religion Christianity

Ernest Scott Garrett (born July 9, 1959) is the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 5th congressional district, serving since 2003. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district includes much of the northern-most and western-most portions of the state. He previously served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1990 to 2002.

Early life, education and career

Garrett earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Montclair State University in 1981 and a Juris Doctor from Rutgers School of Law - Camden in 1984.

He served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1990 to 2002 representing the 24th legislative district, which covers all of Sussex County and several municipalities in Morris and Hunterdon counties.

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee assignments

Party leadership

  • Republican Policy Committee


On May 8, 2013, Garrett introduced the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act of 2014 (H.R. 1872; 113th Congress), a bill that would modify the budgetary treatment of federal credit programs.[1] The bill would require that the cost of direct loans or loan guarantees be recognized in the federal budget on a fair-value basis using guidelines set forth by the Financial Accounting Standards Board.[1] The bill would also require the federal budget to reflect the net impact of programs administered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.[1] The changes made by the bill would mean that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were counted on the budget instead of considered separately and would mean that the debt of those two programs would be included in the national debt.[2] These programs themselves would not be changed, but how they are accounted for in the United States federal budget would be. The goal of the bill is to improve the accuracy of how some programs are accounted for in the federal budget.[3]

Political positions

Although Garrett promoted himself as a "mainstream tax-cutter that President Bush needs in Congress,"[4] he broke with the Bush Administration several times.

He also serves on the Liberty Caucus (despite opposing the legalization of online poker), a group of libertarian-minded congressmen.[5] Other members include(ed) Ron Paul of Texas, Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee, Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, and Jeff Flake of Arizona.[6]

Foreign policy

In 2007, Garrett 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.[7] Garrett is a staunch supporter of military aid to Israel as well as sanctions against Iran.

Domestic policy


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.[8] 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").

Garrett was the only member of the New Jersey delegation to vote for oil and gas drilling off the shore of New Jersey.[9] Garrett was also the only member to vote against restrictions on "price gouging" by oil companies,[10] to vote against child safety locks on handguns, and to vote against emergency funding for Hurricane Katrina victims.[11] He was the only New Jersey member to vote against federal aid for household pets in case of a disaster.[12] He was one of only four members of the House of Representatives to vote against an extension of unemployment benefits.[13] He was the only member of the New Jersey delegation that voted to keep the government closed and send the United States into default during the United States federal government shutdown of 2013. ref>[1]</ref> He was also the only member of the New Jersey congressional delegation to refuse to sign a letter urging the House to provide relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy. He was one of 11 Congressmen to vote against providing aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.[14]


As a state legislator, he once proposed public schools teach intelligent design alongside evolution.[15]

In July 2007, Congressman Garrett proposed an amendment to strike money in a spending bill for native Alaskan and Hawaiian educational programs.[16] Congressman Don Young of Alaska defended the funds on the floor of the House, saying, "You want my money, my money."[16] 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.[16] 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.[16]


Garrett was the only congressman from New Jersey to vote against the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act for purposes of states' rights.[17]


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.

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.[18][19]


Garrett is considered the most conservative member of the New Jersey delegation, and one of the most conservative congressmen ever to represent the state. He is regarded as a deviation from the norm for New Jersey, traditionally a bastion of moderate Republicanism. He has a lifetime ACU rating of 99.6, none of New Jersey's other congressmen have ratings higher than 69.[20] 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).[21] The Veterans of Foreign Wars endorsed him in 2006.[22]

In his 2012 reelection bid, Garrett carried the support of Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum political action committee.[23]

Political campaigns

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.[24] 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.[25][26]

In the 2002 general election, Garrett faced Democratic candidate Anne Sumers, an ophthalmologist 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, Roukema 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.[27] 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.[28][29]

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 Democratic Party nominated Dennis Shulman, a highly respected rabbi and psychologist, as their nominee in 2008. Garrett defeated Shulman 56%-42% in the 2008 general election.

In 2010, Garrett defeated Tod Theise, receiving 65% of the vote.

In 2014, Garrett will face Democratic nominee Roy Cho.[30]

Electoral history

New Jersey's 5th congressional district: Results 2002–2010[31]
Year Democratic 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 Green 4,950 2%
2010 Tod Theise 60,045 33% Scott Garrett 119,478 65% Ed Fanning Green 2,262 1% Mark Quick Independent 1,646 <1%
2012 Adam Gussen 130,102 43% Scott Garrett 167,503 55% Patricia Alessandrini Green 6,770 2% *
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2004, Socialist Party USA candidate Gregory Pason received 574 votes. In 2010 James Radigan received 336 votes

Personal life

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


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "H.R. 1872 - CBO". United States Congress. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  2. Kasperowicz, Pete (28 March 2014). "House to push budget reforms next week". The Hill. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  3. Kasperowicz, Pete (4 April 2014). "Next week: Bring out the budget". The Hill. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  4. Archive of Garrett's campaign site at
  5. "The Liberty Committee". Retrieved 2007-06-24. 
  6. 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. 
  7. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomes legislation introduced by 19 lawmakers, The China Post, November 11, 2007
  8. Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4411
  9. House votes to lift drilling ban for offshore natural gas and oil, Star-Ledger, June 30, 2006
  10. Garrett hit for vote against gas price-gouging ban, The Record (Bergen County), May 6, 2006
  11. Roll Call: Further Emergency Supplemental Appropriations, Hurricane Katrina, 2005, September 8, 2005
  12. Roll Call: Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act, May 22, 2006
  13. Bush Signs Extension of Federal Unemployment Benefits, KOMO-TV, January 8, 2003
  15. 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..." 
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 North to Alaska, The Politico dated July 17, 2007.
  17. The unending struggle for voting rights, The Record (Bergen County), July 18, 2006 [dead link]
  18. Video: No Obama Birth Certificate 11/5/09 Scott Garrett DC House Call, NJCommonSense, November 5, 2009
  19. Weigel, David (November 18, 2009). "GOP Rep. Garrett: ‘I Agree’ That Obama Should Produce Birth Certificate". The Washington Independent. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  21. "Project Vote Smart - Representative Scott Garrett - Interest Group Ratings". Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  22. "Project Vote Smart - Representative Scott Garrett - Press Release - VFW Endorses Garrett For Re-election". Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  23. "Candidates endorsed by Eagle Forum PAC, October 31, 2012". Retrieved November 3, 2012. 
  24. Roukema retires, County News Online, November 26, 2001
  25. 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."
  26. Barnes Pleads Guilty, Primaries, & Georgia Scott; 38th Column dated July 5, 2002
  27. Patriotism becomes nasty campaign issue |
  28. In Jersey, Conservative and Moderate Republicans Vie for Control of Party, accessed July 31, 2006
  29. Barone, Michael; Cohen, Richard E.. "New Jersey 5th District". Almanac of American Politics 2004. Washington, DC: National Journal Group. p. 1043. ISBN 978-0892341054. 
  31. "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



United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Trent Franks
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Jim Gerlach