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By Bill Wichert August 13, 2012

Congressional candidate Anna Little claims she “made history” in nearly defeating Rep. Frank Pallone in 2010

Even though her 2010 bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone ended in defeat, Republican congressional candidate Anna Little says she still made history.

As Little prepares for a rematch against Pallone in the Nov. 6 general election, the Monmouth County native has said the 2010 victory was his narrowest win in more than two decades.

"We actually made history in 2010. We came the closest in 24 years to defeating Frank Pallone," Little, a former county freeholder and mayor, said in an Aug. 2 interview on NJToday. "We think we’ve got a great foundation and we want to pick up where we left off."

The 2010 election did mark the closest Pallone victory in two decades, but it wasn’t exactly the historic outcome that Little described in her TV interview.

As of 2010, the Democratic congressman was only first elected 22 years beforehand -- not "24 years," as Little claimed. Yet even over those 22 years, Pallone’s margin of victory in 2010 was not the closest. He had tighter victories in his first two elections for a two-year House seat.

Here’s how the election results break down:

When Republicans took control of the House in 2010, Pallone narrowly defeated Little by 16,520 votes to continue representing the Sixth Congressional District. Little’s candidacy was backed by the Tea Party movement, which played a key role in securing wins for GOP House candidates across the country.

The close election in 2010 was a stark change from most of Pallone's preceding victories. Just in 2008, the congressman had won by more than 86,000 votes for the largest margin of victory in his career. In fact, the 2010 election represented the closest Pallone victory in 20 years.

But in 1988 and 1990, the congressman faced even closer calls.

Pallone defeated Republican Joseph Azzolina in 1988 by 9,545 votes for his first two-year term. In 1990, Pallone tallied 4,170 more votes than Republican Paul Kapalko.

The following chart shows Pallone’s GOP challengers and margins of victory since winning his first two-year seat in 1988.

Year Republican challenger Pallone’s margin of victory
2010 Anna Little 16,520
2008 Robert McLeod 86,608
2006 Leigh-Ann Bellew 55,076
2004 Sylvester Fernandez 83,039
2002 Ric Medrow 48,900
2000 Brian Kennedy 79,244
1998 Michael Ferguson 22,922
1996 Steven Corodemus 51,233
1994 Mike Herson 33,635
1992 Joseph Kyrillos 17,317
1990 Paul Kapalko 4,170
1988 Joseph Azzolina 9,545


Featured Fact-check

For trivia buffs out there, you’ll notice that Kyrillos -- Pallone’s 1992 challenger -- is the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate this year, looking to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez in the general election.

Our ruling

In a TV interview, Little claimed: "We actually made history in 2010. We came the closest in 24 years to defeating Frank Pallone."

There’s no doubt that Pallone’s victory over Little in 2010 was one of the closest wins of his career, but the timing of Little’s claim is off.

The congressman’s margin of victory represented his tightest win in 20 years -- not 24 years -- and the third-closest finish of all his races for a two-year House seat. Pallone won by even fewer votes in 1988 and 1990.

We rate the statement False.

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Congressional candidate Anna Little claims she “made history” in nearly defeating Rep. Frank Pallone in 2010

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