In a two-part interview, Democratic Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. sat down with NJToday’s Michael Aron to discuss the fallout from the redrawn legislative map which reduced the number of New Jersey’s congressional districts from 13 to 12. Steve Rothman represents the current ninth district, which was merged with the fifth district, served by Republican Scott Garrett. Instead of challenging Garrett, Rothman has decided to move into the newly drawn ninth district and run against Pascrell in the primary.
Pascrell says Rothman is putting himself before the Democratic party by challenging him in the primary instead of campaigning against Garrett. Pascrell plans to fight to keep his seat as a congressman for the newly redrawn ninth district. “I never back down and I’ve never lost a fight so I’m going to do everything I possibly can to win this election and let the other side do what it pleases,” Pascrell says. At age 70, he says he feels stronger now than he did 30 years ago.
Pascrell has announced his first endorsements, which include former Gov. Jim Florio and Assembly Speaker Shiela Oliver.
Pascrell says he was taken aback when he learned fellow Democrat and friend Rothman planned to challenge him in the June primary to represent the newly drawn ninth congressional district. But Pascrell says he’s prepared to fight to keep his congressional seat.
While some have argued that the newly redrawn ninth district falls more in Rothman territory, Pascrell says the district belongs to no one and he has served his constituents well. He adds that endorsements will be announced soon that will “speak for themselves.”