On Tonight’s Show: Does Pascrell Feel Betrayed?

By Michael Aron

It’s Congressman Bill Pascrell’s first extended interview on the challenge to his seat being posed by Congressman Steve Rothman, his fellow Democrat.

The way the Rothman camp sees it, it’s not really Rothman who is challenging Pascrell but the other way around. Fifty-five percent of the population in the new ninth district was in Rothman’s old ninth district, 45 percent in Pascrell’s old eighth. Among registered Democrats, the numbers are 61 percent in Rothman’s old district, 39 percent in Pascrell’s.

“It’s his district,” says Paul Swibinski, Rothman’s political consultant, referring to his client.

All of this was set in motion by the New Jersey Congressional Redistricting Commission, which redrew the state’s map last month. Thirteen seats had to be collapsed into 12. Commission chairman John Farmer thought he was throwing Rothman into Republican Scott Garrett’s fifth district. But Rothman didn’t like that the new fifth leaned Republican 52-48 percent, so he is moving from Fair Lawn back to his old town of Englewood and challenging his colleague Pascrell in the June primary.

A Star-Ledger editorial last week bemoaning the disappearance of a tough challenge to Garrett noted that Pascrell and Rothman have been dinner companions for years in Washington. Pascrell has put out a statement saying he’ll fight to save his seat but saying nothing about Rothman.

In agreeing to sit down with NJToday, Pascrell has basically agreed to take the mask off and show us how he really feels. At least we hope so. And in the case of Bill Pascrell, one usually doesn’t have to do much interpolation to understand exactly how the man feels.

Stay with NJToday for news about a Rothman interview in the future.

WATCH: Part I: Pascrell Taken Aback by Rothman’s Challenge, But Ready to Fight

Catch Part II of the interview tonight on NJToday at 6, 7:30 and 11 p.m.