Yesterday, Rep. Steve Rothman made it official, that congressional redistricting will lead him to challenge not Tea Party darling Scott Garrett into whose district his home has been drawn, but Bill Pascrell, a fellow Dem elected to Congress the same year he was 15 years ago.
You can imagine the rending of garments at DCCC. And the state party. But given the imperative towards re-election hard-wired in House members, whose 2-year election cycle keeps them in perpetual re-elect, and the fact that much of the new district Pascrell now lives in is Rothman stomping ground, Rothman’s move has some logic. He was mayor of Englewood 2 terms, and that’s where he’ll relocate back into district. He already reps nearly 55% of the people (61% of registered Dems) in the new 9th, he says. (hat/tip Daily Kos Elections for this chart, which shows Rothman 53.95%, Pascrell 42.90%).
Rothman v. Pascrell was immediate national news, a race between colleagues on the same side of most issues, sharing a party, supporting the same president in a presidential year. How awful will this race be? How personal their complaints against one another? How much will it divide the rest of us?
Mabe we have some clues in Rothman’s first endorse list of 61 people; legislators, the Hudson & Bergen Dem Chairs, mayors, and municipal chairs, a Bergen-heavy list. Prominent are incoming Senate Majority Leader (and Blue Jerseyan) Loretta Weinberg, longtime Rothman ally, and both Assemblywoman Connie Wagner and Assemblyman-elect Tim Eustace, the two names with the most buzz as potential challengers to Scott Garrett in the contest Rothman passed on.
Pascrell, for his part has solid support from Passaic Chair John Currie, and gave no evidence of worry. Pascrell described himself as:
“a fighter who is ready for whatever may come. I will be as relentless in the election as I have been for my constituents. I do not know the meaning of the word quit.
Rothman’s full endorsement list, after the jump. If Pascrell is developing a similar list, Blue Jersey would very much like to see it.