Tag Archive: nj-5

Rothman Can Still Change His Mind

How to strike the right note in this diary. Now, that’s a challenge. As someone who has been an outspoken fan of primaries, I certainly can’t and won’t join the chorus of Democratic leaders horrified by Steve Rothman’s decision to run against Bill Pascrell in a primary solely because a primary is expensive or can be divisive. Sometimes, primaries are important ideological fights and can be valuable party-building opportunities.

Unfortunately, the situation in NJ-9 is clearly neither: Steve Rothman, unhappy with the outcome of Congressional Redistricting, is moving from his home in Fair Lawn 10 miles east to somewhere in Englewood for the sole purpose of challenging his fellow Democrat, Bill Pascrell, because he calculates that’s the best way to stay in Congress.

Instead of using his sizeable war chest – and up to $2 million additional dollars of funding from the DCCC – to challenge Scott Garrett, we now get to watch him spend that money against his friend, a democratic colleague with whom he has no ideological or political dispute. At a minimum, I considered this a disappointing decision, which I assumed was reached after much soul-searching.

So, I was shocked to learn that Rothman never seriously weighed running against Republican Scott Garrett. While nearly every democrat in New Jersey rejoiced at what appeared to be the potential finally to take out our most conservative tea-party Congressman, Steve Rothman never even seriously considered that opportunity.

That’s a huge loss for the Democratic Party. Rothman is running away from a winnable fight with Scott Garrett, and running against one of the most effective – and most progressive – members of Congress. If the City of Paterson had been moved into Scott Garrett’s district, we all know Bill Pascrell would be all in trying to take Garrett out. And that contrast is something I think Democrats can and should fairly take into consideration when evaluating who they are supporting this June.  

It’s no secret where I stand.  I was on a long list of Bergen, Hudson and Passaic County officials endorsing Bill Pascrell.  I’m standing with Pascrell for a lot of reasons – his strong record fighting for the middle class, his tireless work to obtain national park status for the Great Falls and his commitment to job creation.  But I’m also disappointed.  Disappointed Rothman would rather start this fight than take on a Tea Party Republican we’ve been trying to oust for years.

As the Record’s Al Doblin noted, if Rothman were to run against Garrett, “Even if [he] lost, he would win” – a hero among democrats for taking on the fight. Instead, Rothman’s putting himself in a position where the exact opposite might happen.

I’m still hoping he reconsiders. Or at least gives it serious consideration.

Report DCCC offered Rothman $1 million to challenge Garrett

Now, who might put out a story like this?

PolitickerNJ is reporting that according to “two sources with knowledge of the offer” say that DCCC offered a cool $1 million to Steve Rothman if he stayed in the 5th to challenge Scott Garrett. And that the offer would slide up to $2 mil if polling showed the matchup competitive.

The sources are unnamed.

What would be the motivation for somebody to tell politicker this?

DCCC? No. Rothman has already declared his intentions in the 9th, no reason to screw a 15-year House member. Even if the story’s true, it doesn’t serve DCCC to embarrass a congressional Dem.

Rothman’s team? Obviously, no. Only hurts the boss.

There’s a lot of anger directed at Rothman now from some corners. You can read it all over our pages, but not from me. Disappointment, even for some a sense of betrayal, that Rothman would “take the easy route” and compete with another Democrat in the district Pascrell now lives in, but with constituents the bulk of which Rothman represents. Resentment that Rothman declined to challenge a Tea Party love-object in a district with a clear GOP advantage.

I have no idea if the item is true or not. But I can’t help thinking who gains in a story without evidence or confirmation from the players that makes Rothman look bad, or look like somebody DCCC might write off. Am I too cynical?

And I thought 2012 was going to be fun.  

Rothman to challenge Pascrell: Star-Ledger report


U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-9th Dist.) is telling Democrats he plans to challenge Bill Pascrell (D-8th Dist.) in the June primary, according to two Democratic sources with knowledge of the congressman’s thinking.

A few anonymous sources are quoted for the article. An announcement from Rothman is apparently due this week.

Needless to say, I am sorry to have found this out, and I hope a strong Democrat will come forward to take on Garrett. It’s obviously going to be someone without a $1.5 million war chest, but we need to support them all the same.  

Dems submit map that would pit Steve Rothman against Scott Garrett

The Republican, elected to Congress in 2003, is one of the most vexing in an already right-leaning House of Representatives; a wingnut the tea party loves to love. The Democrat, who went to Congress in 1997, came out early for Barack Obama when nearly the entire NJ Democratic establishment was pushing Hillary Clinton, and became the president’s Northeast Regional co-Chair.

Now, the Democratic members of NJ’s congressional redistricting commission have submitted a final map that pits Scott Garrett (NJ-5) against Steve Rothman (NJ-9) in one competitive district, as reported in nj.com this morning.

John Farmer, Jr. the former New Jersey Attorney General and current Rutgers-Newark Law School Dean, now is empowered to decide between proposals from the Democratic and Republican teams, six members each. What the GOP proposes is still unclear.

New Jersey’s population loss loses us one seat in the House, and the Democrats’ plan focuses on the north, the region that has seen the greatest shifts. The NJ congressional delegation as it stands now is 7 Democrats, 6 Republicans. The Democrats’ map would create 6 safe districts for Democrats, 5 for Republicans and the competitive district one both parties – and perhaps two incumbent congressmen – would have to battle for.


Scott Garrett has always been on the leading edge of crazy, but his crusade as a “tenther” and his consistent voting against funding most federal agencies and programs is one that he is pushing to a growing audience who is receptive to taking a selectively literal interpretation of the Constitution.

As Herb Jackson noted today, Garrett has big plans with his newfound power and initiative, although the ironic thing here is that in pushing his new Constitution “rules”, he neglects the very document he is clinging to.

For starters, Garrett and his fellow “tenthers” like to say that anything not specifically outlined in the Constitution as provided to the federal government is therefore not something that the federal government can impose, since it is then left to the states.  However, Garrett and his ilk conveniently and selectively leave out the very important remainder of the amendment:  “or the people”:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Garrett is using a selective reading of the tenth amendment to speak out and to vote against such horrors as federal funding for education, clean drinking water and other threats to our country.  Not to mention the fact that the Preamble’s “promote the general welfare” clause as well as the commerce clause under Article I have both been used successfully (and beaten back challenges) to do exactly what Garrett is falsely claiming as “unconstitutional”.  

more irony, below the fold

The disaster in the fifth

Two years ago, I drafted a post (edited by the good members of Blue Jersey) with a rundown of what happened in the 2008 Congressional election in New Jersey’s fifth district.  We deconstructed the voting trends in each of the four counties, discussed how outreach and messaging (and money), as well as a different strategy, are needed to (1) win Bergen County, where most of the votes are and (2) close the gap in Passaic, Warren and Sussex Counties:

But this is a low information district with an inherent Republican advantage, where a large majority of people never hear a stump speech or listen to debates.  And that is especially true in the rural areas that count for roughly one-third of the votes.  So it’s clear that very heavy handed, yet accurate, tactics must be used – and used consistently in a way that will not only reach these voters, but close the gap in Sussex and Warren Counties by 1/3 to 1/2 of the roughly 25,000 deficits of 2008 and 2004.

Now, I will admit this post may be a bit more subjective. But that’s because since 2008 (and out of that diary), I helped start “Retire Garrett”, a grassroots effort with outreach in all four counties to help recruit a candidate, solicit donors, craft message, coordinate outreach, and try to tackle the very tough feat of ousting Garrett in a fairly Republican leaning district.  I (with other volunteers) figured this would be a 2 cycle effort, but worth pursuing.

Women’s suffrage turns 90; and Garrett can’t do anything about it

I know, a cryptic title – so follow me here.  But any comments by Representative Scott Garrett in support of women’s suffrage as this country celebrates the 90th anniversary later this week would be in conflict with his consistent vote against the rights of those who aren’t wealthy corporate donors.

It is a real good thing that the right for women to vote isn’t up for reauthorization as well – because you never know what Garrett will come up with to deny them the most basic right as an American.

Why do I say this?  Back in 2006, Garrett was only one of 33 Representatives to vote AGAINST the reauthoriziation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  In attempting to explain a vote that seemed to anyone with a conscience as insensitive and racist, Garrett said the following:

Now, I have been here now for 3 years, just as the gentleman from Iowa has been as well, and I can think of many other very important significant legislations that we have reauthorized. But for the life of me, and I stand to be corrected, I cannot think of any other bill, any other important issue, whether you are dealing with the air, the water, the environment, our schools, our education or our health, our defense or otherwise, I cannot think of any other areas, and again I stand to be corrected, where we have reauthorized something for two and one-half decades. So I think that is the first area that we need to be addressing, and you are rightfully so for bringing it up.

Just as a side note on this, I did put in an amendment that would limit this down to 6 years, but that was the proverbial compromise amendment if we were not successful in getting your amendment to the floor tomorrow which would eliminate the multi-lingual ballots entirely.

Now, Garrett had a number of issues with the reauthorization, but his first two are incredibly telling.  For starters, he felt that equal rights for something as basic as voting should only be reauthorized for 6 years, and not 25.  Garrett’s own words on this issue were that “circumstances in this country will be significantly different than they are today 25 years hence”.  His second issue?  That ballots would not be English-only.

I ask this – what could possibly change in this country that would make the right to vote obsolete?  

Also posted at Retire Garrett

Stop Off Shore Drilling

Scott Garrett wants to drill off the coast of New Jersey. Most people in New Jersey have been against this idea. Well now we have the numbers to back it up.

The northern Atlantic Ocean, including the Jersey Shore, holds more economic value for activities such as commercial fishing and tourism than it does for oil extraction, according to a report released today by the New Jersey Sierra Club.

For every dollar an oil company would make from drilling off the North Atlantic coast, the more environmentally friendly pursuits of fishing and tourism would generate $12, making sustainable uses of the ocean more prudent than offshore drilling, the report said.


More numbers:

The report said New Jersey was responsible for generating $11.5 billion of the estimated $61 billion generated by leisure and hospitality and recreational and commercial fishing among the seven states in the North Atlantic region. The suspected oil and natural gas in the region is estimated at $5.1 billion, according to the report