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.Democrats, especially Rothman, would appear to be conceding the 5th District to Garrett, rather than mount a challenge to Garrett.
Rothman was thrown into a Republican-leaning district with Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5th Dist.) in congressional redistricting process that concluded last week. Since then, there has been speculation that he would instead move and challenge Pascrell in the newly-drawn 9th District, which will contain many of the towns Rothman currently represents.
The Democrats spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt Rothman's official announcement, which they expect to come this week. Rothman today began informing Democrats of his decision.
Passaic County Democratic Chairman John Currie, who supports Pascrell, reacted with a preemptive press release, saying Rothman “would be letting down New Jersey Democrats” by running.
Instead, we're getting a primary race between two Democrats in a district that would likely be Democrat regardless.