Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) shed light Wednesday about conversations between the committee and Rep. Steven Rothman (N.J.) about the Congressman’s re-election plans.
Rothman is engaged in a fierce Member-vs.-Member race against fellow Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell.
“We had many conversations with Steve Rothman and Bill Pascrell,” Israel told reporters at a pen-and-pad briefing. “We would’ve preferred that Steve Rothman run against [Rep. Scott] Garrett, and we believe that Steve Rothman would have beaten Garrett.”
Rothman’s residence was drawn into the Republican Garrett’s 5th district, but he opted to run against Pascrell in the redrawn 9th. The race has caused much angst among state and national Democrats.
“At the end of the day, it is America, and you cannot force people to run where they don’t want to,” Israel said. “I told Steve personally that I understood it would be a tough race and that we, [the] DCCC, would treat him as a Frontliner and help him build the resources he would need to win.”
The Frontline program is the DCCC’s incumbent-protection program.
“He chose to run elsewhere. We can’t do anything about that once that decision is made,” Israel said.
Rothman has denied reports that the DCCC offered him $1 million in campaign funds to run against Garrett.