Pascrell Defeats Rothman in N.J. 9th District Democratic Primary
Updated at 12:51 a.m.
Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., has defeated fellow Rep. Steve Rothman in New Jersey's 9th District Democratic primary.
The Associated Press called the race and Rothman conceded just after 10:30 p.m., Pascrell's campaign confirmed. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Pascrell led Rothman 61 percent to 39 percent.
Pascrell and Rothman were drawn together in redistricting after New Jersey lost a congressional seat due to slow population growth. Just over half of the 9th District's residents were from Rothman's old seat, compared to about 43 percent for Pascrell. But Pascrell overcame that disadvantage by driving turnout up and winning 90 percent of the vote in his base, Passaic County, while cutting into Rothman's support in his strongest part of the district, Bergen County.
Both candidates sought to portray themselves as the "real Democrat" in the ill-tempered primary. Pascrell hit Rothman for choosing to run against a fellow Democrat in the 9th District instead of taking on conservative Republican Rep. Scott Garrett in the neighboring 5th District. Meanwhile, Rothman consistently claimed to be the truer progressive, touting his support for broader abortion rights and earlier support for same-sex marriage and President Obama; Rothman was the only member of New Jersey's congressional delegation to endorse Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. But Pascrell's contrast appears to have carried more weight in the small universe of Democratic primary voters.
The 9th District heavily favors Democrats; Obama carried it with over 60 percent of the presidential vote in 2008. Pascrell is expected to retain the seat in November.
Rothman is the seventh House member to lose a primary this cycle. Three others -- Reps. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio; Don Manzullo, R-Ill.; and Jason Altmire, D-Pa. -- lost previous member-versus-member primaries forced by redistricting, and an additional three lost to outside challengers.