Rep. Bill Pascrell (above) has come out of the gate fighting in his primary race against fellow Democratic Rep. Steven Rothman.
There is little question in the Garden State that Sires will return to Congress in 2013.
9th district Member vs. Member: Bill Pascrell (D) vs. Steven Rothman (D) 8th term (63 percent); 8th term (61 percent) Rating: Safe Democratic
Democratic heartburn isn’t the appropriate term for this race. It’s heartache.
New Jersey lost a seat in redistricting, and a bipartisan commission ended up drawing lines that put Rothman in the 5th district. He could have run against Garrett, and some say he might have won.
Instead, he opted to change residence and move to the 9th, where a sizable number of his current constituents reside.
Early on, Democrats said Rothman had the numbers edge. But Pascrell has come out of the gate fighting with tough press releases and tough ads.
The district is in the New York City suburbs. Ad rates are sky-high, and both candidates have nearly $2 million in cash on hand. But there is angst in New Jersey Democratic circles that the two candidates will crucify each other on the airwaves, when the money could have been spent reinforcing the party during the Gov. Chris Christie Republican-era.
Regardless of who wins, this Member-vs.-Member race means Democrats will lose one Member of the delegation.
10th district Incumbent: Donald Payne (D) 12th term (85 percent) Rating: Safe Democratic
A Democrat will hold this seat in 2013, and it will probably be Payne.
Payne’s recent announcement that he is battling colon cancer does not change his re-election drive, according to his chief of staff. In a statement from his office, Payne is expected to make a full recovery. But Newark Councilman Ron Rice is challenging Payne’s hold on the district. One state Democrat said the primary was “going to be a war.”
It will be a battle of two generations of African-Americans, and Rice is hungry.
Democrats said Payne was aware of the challenge and has been preparing for the primary. He has $1.4 million in cash on hand to protect his seat. In the end, the most influential players in New Jersey Democratic politics are the county party operatives, and Payne is expected to have that support.
It is nearly impossible to overcome the county machine apparatus, so Rice is a long shot to take down the incumbent.
If, though, Payne decides to not seek re-election, Donald Payne Jr. has been groomed to run for the seat.
Regardless of whether he wins, Rice will increase his name identification in the area and is laying the groundwork for his political future.
Frelinghuysen inherited some Democrats from Pascrell’s old district, but few are watching this race closely. The Frelinghuysen name is a centuries-old brand in Garden State politics, and he should have no problem earning a 10th term.
12th district Incumbent: Rush Holt (D) 7th term (53 percent) Rating: Safe Democratic
Roll Call has launched a new feature, Hill Navigator, to advise congressional staffers and would-be staffers on how to manage workplace issues on Capitol Hill. Please send us your questions anything from office etiquette, to handling awkward moments, to what happens when the work life gets too personal. Submissions will be treated anonymously.