In a struggle between two New Jersey Democrats, Rep. Bill Pascrell has survived.
Pascrell defeated Rep. Steve Rothman, the Associated Press has projected, after the two spent millions vying for a win in the newly drawn 9th Congressional District. Pascrell outspent Rothman $1.9 million to $1.3 million, according to FEC filings through May 16.
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Pascrell led Rothman 60 percent to 40 percent.
The race pitted two Democratic presidents against each other — sort of. Bill Clinton campaigned for Pascrell on Friday, while President Obama met with Rothman at the White House.
“I know how effective he is for you. When he thought your interests were my policies, he was effective for me. When he didn’t on rare occasions, he was effective for you instead of me,” Clinton told Pascrell’s supporters at a rally in Paterson, N.J. “Every day that he has been in public life, Bill Pascrell has done what he thought was best for you.”
Obama did not endorse Rothman, but White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the congressman a “longtime friend and longtime supporter of President Obama,” USA Today reported. Rothman met with Obama in the Oval Office on Friday.
Rothman endorsed Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary, while Pascrell endorsed Hillary Clinton.
The 75-year-old Pascrell and the 59-year-old Rothman were first elected to Congress on the same day in 1996, and have served consecutive House terms since 1997. They were pitted against each other when New Jersey lost a House district following the 2010 Census and a 13-member commission drew the new 9th Congressional District across their old lines, encompassing constituents of each congressman.