web analytics
July 1, 2015 / 14 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


In N.J., Pro-Israel Congressman Faces A Primary Battle

Rep-Steve-Rothman-011312

WASHINGTON – Rep. Steve Rothman is accustomed to being re-elected to his northern New Jersey congressional district by wide margins.

This year, however, the pro-Israel stalwart faces what could be a tough, redistricting-induced primary battle against a fellow eight-term Democrat, Rep. Bill Pascrell, who also has a history of winning re-election handily.

Among many pro-Israel activists, the stakes are seen as high. Rothman is regarded as a key and outspoken pro-Israel voice on Capitol Hill.

“There are less than a handful of congressmen who bring the kind of passion, intensity and commitment to America’s security and Israel’s security that Steve Rothman does,” said a congressional aide whose boss previously served with Rothman on the House Appropriations Committee.

“He has a laser beam-like focus on defeating the enemies of Israel, and he’s definitely not shy about holding the State Department accountable.”

The race between Rothman and Pascrell is the result of the new congressional map adopted at the end of 2011 by New Jersey’s redistricting commission.

Rothman is not the only high-profile Jewish lawmaker facing a redistricting-fueled primary fight. In California, the decennial redrawing of congressional districts has yielded a faceoff between Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman, both leaders on Israel issues.

The new map for New Jersey, which is losing a congressional seat, put Rothman’s residence and a fifth of his constituents into a more conservative district, a large majority of which is currently represented by Republican Scott Garrett. Meanwhile, the largest portions of Rothman’s and Pascrell’s constituencies were shoehorned together into another district.

Hoping to avoid an internecine primary battle, some Democrats reportedly urged Rothman, 59, to challenge Garrett. But it would have been an uphill battle for Rothman.

Instead, Rothman and Pascrell, 74, have declared their intentions to run for the same seat. Rothman currently represents 54 percent of the new district’s constituents, while Pascrell represents 43 percent.

“I decided that I wanted to continue to represent the people who I was born and raised with and who I have lived with most of my life,” Rothman said.

The media-savvy, bespectacled congressman previously served as mayor of Englewood, a city with a sizable Jewish population located in the district he is now contesting.

“I will be reminding my constituents not only of my strong support for Israel, but my great success in helping tens of thousands of constituents every year with their problems and bringing home to the district more than $2 billion in federal funding for a variety of essential local projects,” Rothman said.

A spokesman for Pascrell’s campaign, Sean Darcy, offered a different take on who would be the best choice for Democrats in the June 5 primary.

“Congressman Pascrell has a track record of fighting for middle-class taxpayers,” Darcy said. “He is not afraid to take on extreme right-wing conservatives and stand up for Democratic principles and ideals.”

Both lawmakers receive relatively high ratings for their voting records from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action.

Rothman’s power base is Bergen County, while Pascrell’s stronghold is neighboring Passaic County, an area with a large Arab-American community. Both men have lined up endorsements from local elected officials.

“I think Rothman starts off as the favorite in this,” said Alan Steinberg, who writes about New Jersey politics for Politicker NJ and NewJerseyNewsroom.com. “In this primary he will have overwhelming support from the Jewish community.”

Rothman is a longtime supporter of President Obama, endorsing him in the 2008 presidential primaries over then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton – the first member of New Jersey’s congressional delegation to do so.

While Rothman has been critical of aspects of the Obama administration’s Israel policies, including what he has said was a misguided early focus on Israeli settlement activity, he has been at the forefront of defending the president from Republican attacks on his record.

In a July op-ed for Politico, Rothman wrote that the Obama administration “has given – and continues to provide – unprecedented support for the defense and security of Israel.”

He also has hammered leading Republican candidates for supporting an overhaul in the way U.S. foreign aid is allocated, alleging that their positions contradict American understandings with Israel on aid.

Ben Chouake, president of the New Jersey-based pro-Israel political action committee NORPAC, said that Rothman is “very knowledgeable and very engaged and is looked to by other members of Congress for information and advice on matters concerning U.S.-Israel relations and the Middle East.”

NORPAC, the country’s largest pro-Israel political action committee, has raised money for both Rothman and Pascrell in the past.

“While both would carry the status of friendly incumbent in an ordinary election, there is such a wide difference in the records of the candidates that Rothman receives our preference and endorsement in this particular race,” Chouake said.

Rothman sits on two key appropriations subcommittees handling assistance to Israel: the state and foreign operations subcommittee and the defense subcommittee, where he has helped secure funds for Israeli missile defense systems.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “In N.J., Pro-Israel Congressman Faces A Primary Battle”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
U.S. President Barack Obama
Obama Won’t Enforce Anti-BDS Provision Language in Trade Bill he just Signed
Latest News Stories
IDF confronts MK Basel Ghattas on the Marianne of Gothenburg.

One of the anti-Israel activists got tasered as the IDF’s Shayetet 13 took over the boat on its way to Hamas-controlled Gaza.

U.S. President Barack Obama

The President announced he will ignore the letter of the law he just signed because it protects Judea and Samaria.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Remind Sen. Chuck Schumer that he said any deal with Iran must include “anywhere, anytime” inspections.

Malachi Rosenfeld HY"D

The four men were returning from a basketball game near the Israeli community of Shvut Rachel when Palestinian Authority gunmen opened fire on their car in what security sources believe to have been a premeditated ambush.

The funeral for Rabbi Yekutiel Menachem Rapp is to pass by 770 Eastern Parkway Tuesday at 3:45 pm ET.

The United States and the other P5+1 powers unsurprisingly have extended the June 30 deadline for reaching an agreement to supervise and limit Iran’s nuclear development program. The extension is for one week, until July 7. As The JewishPress.com reported here earlier this week, “deadline” has a different meaning in the Muslim Middle East than […]

Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld, 25, lived in the community of Kochav HaShachar in Samaria.

“The PA message to Washington is they want peace. The PA message to their kids is killing Israelis is heroic. It’s time the U.S. figured out which is the true message.”

The agreement does not mean that Orange is leaving Israel, despite wrong headlines elsewhere.

ISIS executioners the past 12 months have murdered 3,000 people, including 86 women and 74 children.

The Tzohar rabbinic organization is focusing on how Anglo immigrants “fit” into Israel’s mosaic this summer.

PM Binyamin Netanyahu warned world leaders they must take a stand against terror in Israel as well.

Two US churches vote on BDS anti-Semitic motions today. One is to vote Wednesday. Millions could be affected.

Israel’s government approves new security fencing along its eastern border.

The father of a critically injured victim of Monday’s road terror attack in Binyamin asks people to pray for his son.

Some Chareidi men fishing on the beach, near the Ashdod port.

More Articles from Zach Silberman
Randy Altschuler

WASHINGTON – Jewish Republicans nationwide are hoping a heated congressional race rematch in the New York suburbs puts a second Jewish Republican in the House of Representatives.

Rep-Steve-Rothman-011312

WASHINGTON – Rep. Steve Rothman is accustomed to being re-elected to his northern New Jersey congressional district by wide margins.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/in-n-j-pro-israel-congressman-faces-a-primary-battle/2012/01/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: