Moran, Menendez Beat Back House Primary Challenges

Posted June 9, 2004 at 5:23pm

Virginia Rep. Jim Moran (D) handily beat back a vigorous primary challenge from attorney Andy Rosenberg on Tuesday and is now favored to win an eighth term in November.

In the first primary of his Congressional career, Moran topped the little-known political novice 59 percent to 41 percent.

Rosenberg, a former aide to Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), ran a campaign heavily focused on the grassroots and a message that emphasized the need for change.

But in the end voters appeared to embrace Moran’s contention that his seniority and record of delivering for the district far outweighed the personal and political missteps that have dogged his 25-year political career.

Moran’s primary challenge was largely driven by his statement in March 2003 that “leaders of the Jewish community” were pushing the country to war in Iraq. Many saw the comment as anti-Semitic, and Moran was widely condemned.

Charges of anti-Semitism against Moran were further flamed a week ago when his longtime pollster alleged that he had heard the Congressman use that sort of language.

Moran, a former mayor of Alexandria, ran best in his home base. Rosenberg ran strongest in Arlington, where he received 44 percent of the vote.

Moran will face off against government relations consultant Lisa Marie Cheney (R) on the November ballot. The suburban 8th district is heavily Democratic, and despite his public controversies, Moran has not won with less than 60 percent of the vote since 1994.

In New Jersey, Rep. Bob Menendez (D) had no trouble fending off a primary challenge from a candidate handpicked by his late arch rival.

Menendez, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, got more than 80 percent of the vote against former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Fulop (D). Fulop was backed by the late Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham (D), who had an ongoing bitter feud with Menendez.

Former Bergen County Improvement Authority Chairwoman Anne Wolfe easily won the Democratic nomination in the 5th district and will face freshman Rep. Scott Garrett (R) this fall. Garrett is heavily favored to win re-election in this GOP seat.

Several noncompetitive Congressional primaries were also held Tuesday in Iowa, Maine, Montana and North Dakota.