Clinton's Man Easily Defeats Obama's in NJ Primary

Wednesday, 06 Jun 2012 07:50 AM

By Martin Gould

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Bill Clinton’s man won big over Barack Obama’s in a New Jersey Democratic primary on Monday that pitted the two presidents against each other.

Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman, both eight-term incumbents from the Garden State, were thrown together into one seat due to redistricting. Clinton came out in favor of Pascrell, while Rothman used a high-profile visit to the White House to claim the current president’s backing and campaigned with Obama’s chief political adviser, David Axelrod.

It was expected to be a tough fight, but in the end Pascrell won by a near 2-1 majority in the district which includes Bergen and Passaic counties in the extreme north east of the state.

In the November election, Pascrell will face off against celebrity rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, the one-time spiritual adviser to singer Michael Jackson and author of the book “Kosher Sex,” who won the Republican primary.

Pascrell, 75, had painted his opponent — a one-time friend, with whom he shared the Amtrak to Washington — as “weak-kneed” for taking on a fellow Democrat rather than fight a more Republican seat.

“My parents always taught me not to start fights, but to know how to end them," Pascrell said in his victory speech. "That’s what we did tonight."

Rothman, 57, who moved house so he would live in the new district said he did not know what his plans for the future are, but said he doubted if he would run for public office again.

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