Well, no more. The New Jersey political map was redrawn in December when the state lost one congressional district. Pascrell is now fighting for his political life against Rep. Steve Rothman in New Jersey’s 9th Congressional district, and most of us in Montclair, Glen Ridge and Bloomfield are voting in the 10th, where there’s a six-way race for the Democratic nomination for Congress. And, as a bonus, if you were in the old NJ 10th as well as the new 10th — in other words, if Donald Payne was your congressman before — you get to vote for the position twice: once to fill the temporarily vacancy left when Payne passed away March 6, and the other for the two-year term that starts January 2013.
But that’s not all. Those of us in the northern parts of Baristaville us are in the 11th district, a district that stretches from Sparta to Nutley, and is currently represented by Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-Harding. Running unopposed for the Democratic nomination is John Arvanites.
On May 24, all six 10th district Democratic candidates participated in a debate at Rutgers Newark, where topics included decriminalizing marijuana, troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, same-sex marriage and creating jobs. Newcomer Dennis Flynn, 32, said that the seat must address the “real concerns of the district” and not the vested interests of “some of the bigger power players.”
Former Glen Ridge mayor Carl Bergmanson, (a political observer who also ran in the 2009 primary as a Democratic candidate for governor) offers a succinct rundown of the candidates on his 10th District website, in order of his personal preference from worst to best, with the disclosure that his favorite, Glen Ridge resident Dennis Flynn, is also his first cousin. There are also links to each of the candidates’ own websites on the page. Paraphrasing Bergmanson, and again following his ranking from worst to best (in his opinion):
Donald Payne Jr., son of the former Congressman and a Newark city councilman, has the coveted line-A spot on the ballot. Unremarkable, establishment candidate
Ron C. Rice Jr., also a Newark city councilman, is the son of Senator Ron Rice.
Nia Gill, state senator, self-promoter
Wayne Smith, mayor of Irvington
Cathy Wright, newcomer, teacher, mother, grandmother
Dennis Flynn, newcomer, emphasizes change and reforming Essex county cronyism.
Bergmanson is especially critical of Montclair’s Gill:
State Senator Nia Gill has done a great job, over the last 20 years or so, of representing Nia Gill – sometimes that happens to also benefit her district. – she was the deciding vote to turn NJN over to Steve Adubato, Jr. (son of Essex County Machine Boss Steve Adubato, Sr.) – basically a lose/lose proposition for the taxpayers – after that, she will never get another vote from me.
The 10th district, by the way, is the bluest in the state. According to NJ Spotlight, there are 208,000 registered Democrats and 21,000 registered Republicans with 179,000 unaffiliated.
Oh yes, and by the way, Dems, you get to vote for Obama in this primary too.
Got all that?