N.J. Map Sets Up Rothman, Garrett Member-vs.-Member Race
Updated, 3:39 p.m.
New Jersey Reps. Steven Rothman (D) and Scott Garrett (R) are on a collision course for November’s general election under a new map approved today by the state’s Congressional redistricting commission.
The bipartisan commission, made up of six Democrats, six Republicans and one independent, voted 7-6 for the Republican plan, which pushes the two lawmakers into the same district and gives Garrett a decided advantage based on the new area’s past voting performance.
New Jersey lost a district in reapportionment, ensuring two Members would be forced to run against each other if no one retired. Down to 12 districts, the new map favors Democrats and Republicans in six seats each.
Rothman is in his eighth term and serves on the Appropriations Committee. The Democrat hasn’t won with less than 60 percent of the vote since first being elected to represent his Hackensack-based 9th district in 1996.
Rothman’s hometown of Fair Lawn was drawn just inside the new 5th district border, placing him in a Republican-leaning district against Garrett. Rothman also could run against fellow Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell in a neighboring district, but the assumption for now is that he will take on the Republican.
Garrett is a fifth-term social and fiscal conservative. His Wantage home puts him in the geographic center of the V-shaped district, which looks similar to the one he’s carried with at least 55 percent of the vote since 2002.
Rothman said in a statement he is looking at “all my options” given the new map and that he will announce his plans in the “near future.”
“My life has been committed to public service and to representing all my constituents,” Rothman said. “Lines on a map do not change the need to continue the fight to expand opportunity for all Americans; get our economy back on track; protect middle class taxpayers, seniors and families; stop those who would end Social Security and Medicare; and to keep our beloved nation safe.”
Despite the district’s partisan lean, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sees it as competitive and likes its chances against Garrett, the Constitution Caucus founder.
“Congressman Scott Garrett is going to have a hard time explaining his extreme, out-of-touch agenda to voters in his new district,” DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson said.