Why I’m with Bill Pascrell

promoted by Rosi

Voters in the 9th Congressional District are posed with a tough choice.  Two capable, progressive members of Congress are facing off in a primary.  Only one can stay in Congress.  Sometimes in life we face these types of tough dilemmas. But the stakes are too high to make the wrong choice.  President Obama needs fighters in Congress to reform our campaign finance laws, pass comprehensive climate change legislation, and protect middle class families.  

Bill Pascrell is one of those fighters the President needs back in Congress come 2013.

My friendship with President Obama goes back fifteen years.  As a Senior Advisor, State Director here in New Jersey, and member of the transition team I know his values are one in the same with Congressman Pascrell.  I know that if Bill were drawn into a congressional district with Scott Garrett – the darling of the Tea Party – he would not back down.  He would have brought that fight right to Garrett’s doorstep and put another seat in play to regain the majority for the Democrats, just like he did in 1996.  

Steve Rothman had that chance, but instead chose to move into Bill’s district and waste resources that should go towards defeating Republicans.  

I don’t take this endorsement lightly.  As the campaign unfolded over the last few months, my initial instinct was to stay out of this race.  But I couldn’t stand idly by any longer.  Specifically, I was disappointed by the tenor of Rothman’s campaign. Attack ads the Star Ledger called “dishonest, ludicrous, wrong and ridiculous” motivated me to speak up.  I applaud Bill Pascrell for running a campaign appealing to the best in people, not the worst. Our focus must remain on the key issues of the day: creating jobs, affordable healthcare, and educational opportunities for our children.

As Democrats, we shouldn’t need to worry about dishonest attacks from within the party.  

Bill doesn’t sit on the sidelines during important political and legislative fights. When President Obama needed help passing healthcare legislation, Congressman Pascrell was there to forge consensus and get the bill passed.  As a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, he delivered important funding that improved our infrastructure, created jobs, and protected our environment.  Bill is the fighter we need standing arm-in-arm with President Obama.  

On June 5th vote Bill Pascrell for Congress.    

Pants on fire?

When Steve Rothman decided to move into the new 9th Congressional District to challenge Congressman Bill Pascrell, most political observers knew things would get nasty.  But no one knew the Rothman camp would resort to outright lies.  PolitiFact even went so far as give the Rothman campaign a “pants on fire” ruling for an outrageous distortion of Pascrell’s record on taxes.  Rothman will do and say whatever it costs to keep his seat in Congress – even if that means lying.

Voters aren’t going to be tricked into believing the lies coming from Rothman and his campaign.  Bill Pascrell has a strong record fighting for core Democratic values, protecting the middle class, and pushing back against Tea Party extremists.  Bill Pascrell didn’t run from the fight against the Tea Party, Steve Rothman did when he packed up and moved away from the fight against Scott Garrett in order to take on a Democrat.  The Star Ledger summed it up best: Rothman’s cheap shots are tarnishing his record.  Last week on The Brian Lehrer Show a former Rothman supporter expressed her frustrations, stating: “when it got cleared up, and I found out was really a kind of dirty politics the way he was saying these things about Pascrell, and each one can be explained, I’m voting for Pascrell.”  We need Bill Pascrell in Congress fighting for us like he has his whole career.  

Watch for yourself and don’t believe the lies coming from Rothman’s campaign:

Pascrell: Fighting for LGBT Equality

Dom is the mayor of Haledon. promoted by Rosi

Following President Obama’s historic announcement in support of marriage equality, the progressive community has been reenergized.  His support for this important civil rights issue can’t be quantified.  We all need to follow his lead and fight to elect progressive Democrats like Bill Pascrell that are going to stand up and fight for our LGBT brothers-and-sisters.  As an early supporter of marriage equality myself, I know how important this issue is to our progressive community. Unfortunately, Bill’s opponent is doing everything he can to distort his record to remain in Congress.  I’m with Bill Pascrell this June because I know he is the real fighter in this race standing up for our progressive Democratic values. He won’t cut-and-run from any fight. Don’t just take my word, see why Michael Galluccio is standing with Congressman Bill Pascrell.

Labor gets behind Congressman Pascrell

promoted by Rosi

Today 21 union locals announced support for Congressman Bill Pascrell in his primary fight.  Bill Mullen, President of the New Jersey State Building and Constructions Trade Council put it best: “Moving your home to challenge one of your own doesn’t make sense.  That’s why we’re standing by Congressman Bill Pascrell.”  And he is 100% right.  Bill Pascrell isn’t moving anywhere.  I can say with certainty that if he was drawn into a district with Scott Garrett he wouldn’t be running from the fight.  He would take it head on like he has every race in his career.  

That is the most disappointing part of Rothman’s decision to move into Pascrell’s district.  There is a golden opportunity to take out one of the most extreme, ideologically driven members of Congress.  A man who wants to drill for oil on New Jersey’s shores, voted against reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act and refused to support funding for Hurricane Katrina victims.  Garrett refuses to compromise on anything and epitomizes everything that is wrong with Washington D.C. right now. Instead of taking this fight to Garrett – someone Rothman disagrees with on almost every issue – he is fighting his own, another progressive Democrat who he almost always agrees with.  

It makes no sense.  

It is no secret that I’m a strong Pascrell supporter.  Since my first race for the Haledon Board of Education right up until my election as the Mayor of Haledon he has been behind me.  Bill Pascrell didn’t start this fight.  But you can rest assured he is going to end it.  

“Eyes Up Here”: Look up north to see if NJ D’s are serious

A lot has been said, both here at Blue Jersey and in the traditional media, about the recent Congressional redistricting – and more specifically with an eye on the new Fifth and Ninth Districts.  Here in the Fifth, where I (still) live, the District is better in terms of the ability to beat radical right winger Scott Garrett, but the District is still a fairly Republican district.  Where things are very interesting in terms of just how serious the New Jersey Democratic Party is, not to mention the national Democratic Party, lies right here in Bergen County.

When Rep. Steve Rothman decided to run against Rep. Bill Pascrell in the Ninth as opposed to running against Garrett, my thought on the bigger picture is that there will be a lot of money spent on a Democratic Primary (assuming there is one) that could have been much better spent knocking down one of the worst Representatives in the truest sense of the word “representative” in that Garrett does not represent the best interest of most of his constituents.

Amazing Race for a Soon to Be Non-Existent 7th District

The 2012 cycle finance numbers are finally out for the second quarter of 2011, and I kniow you all have been waiting with bated breath for the news.

There’s only one race in New Jersey as of right now, and it’s a two-fer.  But before we get to that, let’s look at the rest of the state.

Every incumbent is raising money, though some slower than others. Chris Smith (R-4) and Albio Sires (D-13) each raised less than $100K this quarter, but neither is really in trouble.  There’s little talk that either of them could be districted out next year.  

Scott Garrett (R-5) is the winner, pulling in a whopping $703,681for the quarter first half of the year, outpacing the number two William Pascrell at $489,056 and Frank Lobiondo at $486,271.  Updated: I give you the first half numbers because the FEC pages are not being helpful in parsing things out by quarter yet.end update

Those are the highs and lows, but the real interesting one right now is the 7th.  Most folks out there suspect that the 7th will be the one to disappear.  It’s the weirdest looking district, an easy win for the Republicans most of the time but recently got more Democrats registered than Republicans.  It borders on Democratic districts (6, 10, 12 and 13) and Republican districts (5 and 11) into which it could be subsumed.

The 7th has also never made any sense at all, with the urban and hyper-Democratic east combined with the more rural and hyper-Republican west. more…

Rating How Competitive New Jersey Congressional Districts Are: Nate Silver’s PPI Index

Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com has just introduced his new “Partisan Propensity Index” (PPI). If you’ve been following elections closely, you’re probably already familiar with the Partisan Voting Index (PVI) from Cook, and similar statistics from Swing State Project. Cook’s idea is to look at how each Congressional District voted for President compared to the nationwide average. So, for example, the NJ5 district (Garrett’s) is rated R+7, meaning it voted 7 points more Republican than nationwide, while NJ13 (Sire’s) is rated D+21. You can see why Democrats had such a hard time even with a good candidate against Garrett, and why Republicans didn’t seriously contest NJ13 when Menendez left it. Unlike Congressional races, where often one candidate is hardly covered in the news and has hardly any campaign budget, the two party’s Presidential candidates are well known. The PVI index is widely used to identify competitive districts.  

Here’s Silver’s idea:

Are there any systematic differences in the ways that votes tend to fall for the Congress, as opposed to the Presidency? Are certain districts better or worse for Democrats, or Republicans, than PVI alone would suggest?

It turns out that there’s one other factor which is fairly useful to look at, which is socioeconomic status. Relative to how they do for the Presidency, Democrats are somewhat more likely to win races for Congress in poorer districts, and somewhat more likely to lose them in wealthier ones. Another way to put this is that a split ticket of Republican for President, Democrat for Congress is more likely to occur in a poor district, whereas a split ticket of Democrat for President, Republican for Congress is more likely to occur in a wealthy one.

Click through for the statistical analysis he uses. Silver expresses his PPI index as the chance for Democrats to win an open seat in an average election cycle, based solely on two factors: the recent Presidential Vote and the percentage of the population with incomes under $25,000/yr.  Here are the results for New Jersey:

District Name PVI PPI
NJ11 Frelinhguysen R+7 2.5%
NJ5 Garrett R+7 3.2%
NJ4 Smith R+6 10.9%
NJ7 Lance R+3 13.9%
NJ3 Adler R+1 27.9%
NJ12 Holt D+5 62.9%
NJ2 LoBiondo D+1 66.0%
NJ6 Pallone D+8 85.2%
NJ9 Rothman D+9 88.8%
NJ8 Pascrell D+10 96.6%
NJ1 Andrews D+12 97.0%
NJ13 Sires D+21 99.95%
NJ10 Payne D+33 99.998%

The main lesson, if you take this ratings seriously, is that New Jersey’s wealth makes the battleground Congressional districts lean Republican compared to how they vote at the Presidential level. In many states, the R+3 and even the R+7 districts have a great chance of going Democratic at the Congressional level, but here NJ5 and NJ7 are actually quite unfavorable, and should vote for the House like R+14 districts in the rest of the country. When we evaluate how our candidates did, it’s worth keeping this effect in mind.

Frank LoBiondo’s district is the poorest in New Jersey, and by this measure is slightly better for Democrats than Holt’s district, but we are stuck with the echo of 1994. In case it’s not obvious, being an incumbent matters, scandals matter, and cycles can be more or less Republican than the average cycle, and you should always remember that the most likely outcome doesn’t always happen. All of our 2010 races have incumbents so the percentages definitely do not apply. Also, this is the last election in the current districts.

Health Care Action Alert – UPDATE

Late yesterday, Hopeful posted a diary asking that you contact Rep. Adler’s office with respect to the House “robust public option/Medicare+5” bill that Speaker Pelosi was hoping to bring for a vote.

We also found out that Reps. Steve Rothman (NJ-9) and Albio Sires (NJ-13) may also be on the fence, so we are asking that if at all possible, can you call all three of their offices and urge them to support the Speaker and 70% of Americans for REAL healthcare reform.

Here are their numbers, both in DC and here in NJ:

Albio Sires:




John Adler:




Steve Rothman:




I’m told we may have until around 2PM today, so anything you can do this morning is extremely helpful.  And as Rosi said last night:

If you live in their congressional district be sure to tell the staffer.

If you don’t live there, but work there, or spend vacation time or money there, tell them that. And of course, be brief and polite to the staffer who takes your call.

If you know somebody in the district, please shoot them an email with the phone number – you can make a difference this morning.  

Also, if you could tweet this and post to your Facebook status, that would be great too.  After all, elections have consequences, right?


Women in politics reality check, it’s not 1950, right?

At the meeting where DiAnne Gove was selected to replace Van Pelt, she said

I thank you for your vote of confidence because this is a very important position. Yes, I’m a woman, which does bring a different . . . “That’s right!” Gove continued. “. . . A different perspective

The APP reported a member in the audience interrupted with applause and a drawn-out “Yeah,”

When it was Sen. Connors turn to speak, APP reports

And one more thing, he began. He knows there are some Republicans out there who are perhaps uncomfortable with her statement that as a woman she would bring “a different perspective” to the table.

“Brian [Rumpf] and I are used to a different perspective at least once every evening when we go home,” Connors quipped to laughs and applause.

I know there are Dem men who would acknowledge that some in the party are uncomfortable with women bringing a different perspective or with women just being women and allowed to hold higher office.  And some would try to diffuse it with old boys’ club type humor.  

Hardly seems worth the newsprint, except to remind some of us that we haven’t left the 1950’s that far behind.  

Rumpf, at least, acknowledged it had been a tough couple of weeks, referring to Van Pelt’s indictment and resignation.