Rep. Steven Rothman (above) picked up support from senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Updated: 4:57 p.m. | Senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod is set to campaign on behalf of Rep. Steven Rothman on Wednesday in his tough 9th district primary against fellow Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell. The Bergen County Record first reported the news.
President Bill Clinton endorsed Pascrell earlier this month, and Axelrod’s move to campaign for Rothman sets up a rematch of sorts of the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. In that contest, Rothman was an early Obama backer; Pascrell endorsed then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Obama is popular in the newly drawn 9th district, and Axelrod’s endorsement could give Rothman an edge against Pascrell. Obama has not been active in Democratic primaries, although he did endorse Rep. Pete Stark (D) in the California 15th district race this morning.
Pascrell and Rothman have similar liberal voting records. But each is trying to make the case that he is the more authentic Democrat. Roll Call rates this race as Safe Democratic, meaning the winner of this primary is almost certain to win the general election.
The Clinton endorsement recently surfaced in a new Pascrell television ad called “Scrappy.” It has aired on cable television.