New N.J. congressional map triggers district fight between Dems

It now looks like there will be a Democratic primary battle for one of New Jersey’s congressional seats.

The new congressional redistricting map in New Jersey put Democrat Steve Rothman into the same district as Republican Scott Garrett. Instead of running against one of the most conservative members of Congress, Rothman has decided to challenge fellow Democrat Bill Pascrell in the redrawn 9th District.

Monmouth University political analyst Patrick Murray said he expects Democrats will put pressure on Rothman to change his mind.

“While they knew that Rothman was going to have an uphill battle against Garrett in the 5th, they did not want to concede a Democratic seat,” Murray said. “By Rothman running against Pascrell, that basically writes in stone that this is going to be a six-six delegation here in New Jersey.”

About 54 percent of the residents in the new 9th District are Rothman’s current constituents, but Murray says a primary with Pascrell would be a very competitive race.

Pascrell agrees that Rothman will have quite a fight on his hands.

“Everyone who knows me knows that I am a fighter who is ready for whatever may come. I will be as relentless in the election as I have been for my constituents,” he said. “I do not know the meaning of the word quit.”

For 15 years, Congressman Bill Pascrell has represented the three largest communities of the New Jersey’s new 9th District: Paterson, Passaic and Clifton.

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