Bergen Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato this week called on U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell to immediately halt his personal attacks against Congressman Steve Rothman echoing a recent Daily Kos posting that called Pascrell’s rhetoric ugly and baseless.
“Congressman Pascrell’s baseless personal attacks are detrimental to the Democratic Party and counter productive to our shared vision for November,” said Stellato. “Congressman Pascrell should immediately cease these campaign tactics. Nobody fights harder for Democratic values then Steve Rothman and any suggestion to the contrary is misleading and outright untrue. ”
Pascrell has routinely asserted publicly that Rothman’s decision to primary Pascrell amounts to dereliction of duty in the face of U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5), whose reconfigured 5th District includes Rothman’s hometown of Fair Lawn.
By moving into the bulk of his old district away from Garrett, Rothman chooses intra-party warfare rather than a chance to take on New Jersey’s most conservative member of Congress, say the Pascrell partisans.
But Stellato said he thinks Pascrell has gone to war by essentialy invoking the wimp factor when it comes to Rothman’s political decision.
The chairman noted that he is not the only person calling on the Paterson incumbent to put an end to his campaign’s rhetoric.
“Okay. I’m long past tired of this crap,” writes David Nir of the Daily Kos. “When the GOP pretended as though they’d mashed up Rep. Steve Rothman’s district with Republican Scott Garrett’s, this is exactly the kind of outcome they dreamed about. In reality, Rothman was pushed into the same district as fellow Dem Bill Pascrell, and now Pascrell is getting ugly.
“Here’s the cold, hard, empirical truth about the new 9th CD: Rothman currently represents 54% of its constituents, while Pascrell represents only 43%. By the numbers, that means if anyone has a better claim to this seat, Rothman does. As for the idea that he should have challenged Garrett in the revised 5th, Rothman represents only 21% of that district. By the same token, Pascrell represents a greater share—33%—of the constituents in Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen’s redrawn 11th CD. So if Pascrell wants to claim that Rothman shirked a fight against Garrett, then he surely did the same if not worse vis-à-vis Frelinghuysen.
“The fact is, this is what happens in redistricting. Incumbents get thrown together. Some people behave more selflessly than others, but expecting someone not to run in the seat where they represent a majority of the constituents is absurd. I’m all for Pascrell and Rothman duking it out, but I find the kinds of charges Pascrell is leveling to be baseless. What’s more, you gotta ask yourself: If you’re doing precisely what Republicans wished you do, should you really be doing it? The answer is obvious.”
Stellato said he’s through entertaining the tough guy talk.
“I support a debate on relevant issues that creates contrast between the two candidates, but will not support personal attacks that harm the overall success of the Democratic Party,” said the chairman.
Rothman has secured the support of both the Bergen and Hudson Democratic Chairmen and over 125 local elected officials in Bergen, Passaic and Hudson Counties.