Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Boteach Wins Spot as Gop Nominee

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Boteach Wins Spot as Gop Nominee

Article excerpt

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, an author and media personality, topped two opponents to become the Republican candidate in the new 9th Congressional District, saying he would begin his campaign by meeting today with officials in Israel to talk about human rights abuses by the Syrian government.

"My campaign starts in the morning," he said by phone from Israel, where he was attending his sister-in-law's wedding.

Boteach said he would make human rights an issue in the campaign. He also said his refusal to talk about divisive social issues such as gay marriage would help him in the general election against Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. of Paterson in the heavily Democratic district.

"I believe I am a crossover candidate," said Boteach, of Englewood.

He said he supports Arab uprisings against undemocratic governments, a position that he said would help him with Passaic County's large Muslim population. And he said he would be an advocate for family values, pressing for tax breaks for marriage counseling. He also said he would like to extend Bergen County's blue laws, using economic incentives for stores to stay closed on a weekend day to create "an American Sabbath."

Boteach was leading with 57 percent of the vote with 90 percent of precincts counted at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. He defeated Hector Castillo, a semiretired doctor from Paterson, who had 30 percent of the vote, and Blase Billack, a pharmaceutical science professor from Saddle Brook who had 13 percent of the vote.

Their campaigns largely were overshadowed by the marquee event of the Democratic primary with Rep. Steve Rothman, D-Englewood, battling Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-Paterson, in a race that drew national attention.

Boteach, whose website refers to him as "America's Rabbi," raised $136,063 for the primary as of May 16, according to federal campaign finance records. Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who helped bankroll Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign, and his wife, Miriam, contributed a total of $10,000 to Boteach, according to records. …

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