Pascrell, Rothman Spar Over Liberal Record in 9th District Primary Debate
Same-sex marriage, abortion rights at issue in televised debate
Rothman said he supported same-sex marriage before Pascrell did and cited his record of support for a woman’s right to choose. Pascrell, who was recently endorsed by former President Bill Clinton, said he voted with President Obama 94 percent of the time, according to an Associated Press report.
"I'd say I am the progressive voice of the Democratic Party represented here. I am the Democrat's Democrat up here," Rothman said, wnyc.org reported. Rothman also said senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod would support him.
Rothman touted his record of supporting a woman’s right to choose, saying Pascrell once received a 30 percent score from abortion-rights group NARAL. Pascrell responded that the abortion votes were matters of conscience, including a vote to restrict late-term abortions.
Pascrell questioned why Rothman had not opted to face Republican Congressman Scott Garrett after the 9th district was redrawn by redistricting. Rothman opponents have accused the former Englewood mayor of running from a fight with Garrett in the new 5th district, which now includes most of Teaneck.
“If you’re such a progressive, why didn’t you take on the leader of the Tea Party?” Pascrell said, northjersey.com reported.
Rothman has maintained the newly drawn 9th represents the communities he has long served.
Voters head to the polls June 5 for the primary. The primary winner is largely expected to win the heavily Democratic district.