November 6, 2018

Thank you, Chairman Stellato, for your unrelenting and remarkable leadership, for having faith in my candidacy when others didn’t, and for driving our bus, once again, to victory. Thank you, Chairman Currie, Sussex County Chairwoman Leslie Hahn and Warren County Chairman Tom Palmieri, for your leadership.

Congratulations to the greatest running mates and friends you could ask for: Senator Menendez, for one hell of a fight and one hell of a win, my mentor, Congressman Bill Pascrell, County Executive Jim Tedesco, Sheriff-Elect Anthony Cureton, State Senator Lagana, Assemblyman Tully and Assemblywoman Swain, Freeholders Tracy Zur and Steve Tanelli, and all the local mayors, councilmembers and candidates. And to all of you – my friends and supporters — thank you all for your grit and fight and endless support.

I want to thank John McCann for running a tough fight and for being so thoughtful when my mom passed away.

Two years ago, they said it was impossible. That we couldn’t win here. The odds were too long, the ads too expensive, the District simply too partisan.

Then, together, we proved them wrong. Handshake by handshake, call by call, living room by living room, diner by diner, vote by vote, you, all of you, bucked the national trend and we defeated a seven-term Tea Party extremist.

The next morning, the naysayers were back at it, and so were the extremists. They all told us it was a fluke. That we could never win again.

But we did the job. We worked for everyone regardless of where they lived or who they voted for. From Sussex to Warren, Bergen to Passaic, we worked together, as problem solvers, with mayors and councils, with businesses of all sizes, with our brothers and sisters in labor, as Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, and more importantly, as Americans, for what was best for New Jersey.

We fought to cut taxes and red tape and to claw back more dollars to Jersey from the Moocher States, for better roads and rails from Gateway to Lackawanna, for more affordable health care for our families and seniors, and clean drinking water for our kids, for having the backs of law enforcement, firefighters, and vets. We fought for Jersey Values.

More than anything, together, we proved that unity beats division, that bipartisanship beats extremism, that progress beats obstructionism.

So, tonight, together, we’ve officially proved the naysayers wrong again, and I’m very proud to stand before you, once again, as the Congressman for Fifth Congressional District of New Jersey.

Tonight’s victory is a clear win for all those in the common-sense middle and for the values we hold so dear. Now it’s our time to bind up our nation’s wounds. It’s our time to come together, and move forward, remembering that extremism, on either side, holds our country back. Division isn’t the answer. Neither is obstruction for the sake of it, or attacking success, and old-time class warfare. Now, more than ever, we must work together, united, as one nation under God, to solve the challenges we face and seize upon the opportunities ahead. We must sew together the flag that some have tried but failed to tear apart.

But we cannot lead by just saying no. We need a vision for what we’re for, not just for what we’re against, because, as it’s said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

At our core, we believe in opportunity for all and responsibility from all. In good jobs and a good education, in fighting crime and terror to keep our communities safe, in looking out for one another, in taking care of our children and our seniors, in always getting the backs of those whose get ours, and, of course, in lower taxes, and our Jersey Values.

That’s our vision, and now that it looks like the Democrats will be in the majority in the House – and that New Jersey was the catalyst for that change — it is time for us not just to mouth the words, but to come together for commonsense policies that put country ahead of partisanship.

And there’s plenty we can agree on. I know first-hand.

In the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to work with both sides, frankly with anyone, to do what’s best for our state and our country.

And I’m eager to partner with my new colleagues here in Jersey – Mikie and I know others are coming.

Finally, politics is a team sport, and I will never forget those who got me here. All of you, including the mayors and other elected officials like, Harry, Adele, and John, who put their community ahead of party, this is your win more than mine.

Thank you to my unbelievable, tough and tenacious Chief of Staff, Trish Russell, the genius architect of the last two years – and to everyone in my office who wakes up every day committed to the people of the Fifth. Thank you!

And thank you to our grassroots troops, led by those including Anna, Patches, and Erin, Paulie and Todd, and all of our supporters, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. From the bottom of my heart, I will never ever forget what you have done for me, knocking on doors, talking to people, and always getting my back.

To our second-to-none campaign team — Alex, Ali, Storm, Ella, Lauren, Sky, Branden and Nate – thank you for always being a step ahead, and for working around-the-clock. And now, for my phenomenal campaign manager, who helped drive our strategy and executed it every hour of every day for the last year, Lacey Morrison. When things were crazy, I could always depend on Lacey to be the calmest and keep us on course. Thank you, Lacey!

And thank you to others who helped on the team, Jef Pollack, Bill Knapp, Bob Sommer, Mark Penn, my friends at No Labels, and my strategist, the invisible hand of Bergen, Adam Silverstein.

To my finance committee and team, led by the tenacious Alex Milofsky, and the countless supporters who helped make this win possible, thank you, and a special thanks to my campaign treasurer, Lauren Cohen.

To my close friends, my kitchen cabinet and all those who opened up their homes to us, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Finally, I would be nothing without my family. To my Dad, who I love so much, and Janie; to my wonderful step-father, Harry, my terrific and caring sister Emily, her husband Jeff, and my niece Ruby; my in-laws, Gabe and Nadine, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Brad and Harper, and my nephew and niece, Lyle and Abigail, my cousins and aunts and uncles, thank you for always standing by me.

And when it comes to thank yous, I saved my immediate family—my most important—for last, the ones who put up with me going back and forth and serving every week. To my beautiful and brilliant wife, the love of my life, Marla, who is somehow still talking to me after two years of riding Amtrak to Washington – and after two tense campaigns. To Ben and Ellie, my other loves, you’re everything to me. The worst part about this campaign is the time I’ve had to spend away from you, but the reason I ran was because of you, and I hope I can continue to be an example to you of the importance of service.

And to the person who would have most loved being here tonight – and it pains me deeply that she’s not – my mother, Gwenn, who is surely looking down on us tonight, with her legendary laugh and smile. As I said when we lost her in October, I wouldn’t be here without her.

She taught me, as did my dad and stepfather, that we live in the greatest country in the world, and that our best days, no matter what we face, will always be ahead of us. Thank you, may God bless you, and may God continue to bless and watch over the United States of America.