Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Schaer Endorses Rothman

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Schaer Endorses Rothman

Article excerpt

U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman picked up his first major endorsement from a Passaic County official Tuesday in his primary battle with fellow Democrat Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr.

Pascrell, meanwhile, rolled out the team he hopes will fend off Rothman in the race to represent the redrawn 9th Congressional District, which includes parts of Bergen, Passaic and Hudson counties.

Rothman, of Fair Lawn, won support from Assemblyman Gary Schaer, who represents the 36th Legislative District, two-thirds of which is in southern Bergen County and one-third in Passaic County.

"This was not an easy decision," Schaer said. "The choice is between two good Democrats, and that causes the difficulty."

The two candidates have similar voting records and histories, Schaer said. He said a deciding factor was Rothman's seat on the House Appropriations Committee.

"Steve's post [on the committee] is too vital for us to do without," he said.

Congressional redistricting moved Fair Lawn and parts of Bergen County into the 5th Congressional District, where Rothman would have faced GOP incumbent Rep. Scott Garrett of Wantage in Sussex County in a district where Republicans hold a four percentage-point advantage in voter registration.

Instead, Rothman said he plans to leave Fair Lawn later this year and move somewhere within the 9th District, setting up the primary battle with Pascrell, who is from Paterson.

Rothman has focused his campaign so far on lining up endorsements. To date, he has support from four state senators, seven Assembly members and 19 mayors, as well as the Democratic chairmen of Bergen and Hudson counties.

Pascrell, meanwhile, has focused on assembling at team of veteran Democratic operatives to run his campaign.

That team includes:

* Murphy Vogel Askew Reilly LLC, a firm that has run several high- profile national campaigns. Partner Steve Murphy ran Rep. Dick Gephardt's presidential campaign in 2003-04.

* Fred Yang, a pollster with the firm Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group.

* Bill Pascrell III, Passaic County counsel and the congressman's son, who ran his father's successful campaign for Paterson mayor in 1990 and his reelection campaign in 1994. …

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