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Implications For Obama? Experts Weigh In On How N.J. Primary Affects Presidential Race

Congressman Bill Pascrell (L); Congressman Steve Rothman (R) (credit: CBS 2)

Congressman Bill Pascrell (L); Congressman Steve Rothman (R) (credit: CBS 2)

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PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The results of one of New Jersey’s Congressional primaries could have national implications.

With two Democratic incumbents running against each other in the 9th District, the candidate supported by President Barack Obama lost.

So what does that mean for the president as he runs for re-election? One political analyst believes it may not be the strongest indicator of the situation in the Garden State.

Congressman Bill Pascrell had the backing of former President Bill Clinton while Steve Rothman had the backing of President Obama.

But Pascrell, initially the underdog, won the Democratic nomination in the newly formed Congressional district.

However, some said the race felt more like a battle between Clinton and Obama.

“President Clinton is popular among Democrats. He’s got real celebrity star power. I think it was a big advantage to claim Clinton’s endorsement,” political analyst Peter Woolley told CBS 2′s Christine Sloan.

In fact, the New Jersey Republican Committee has released a statement saying quote: “This is another perfect example of Bill Clinton being a major thorn in the side of the Obama campaign.”

However, Woolley said a recent poll from his university, Fairleigh Dickinson, showed the president’s base is strong in the New Jersey, especially with independents, who usually determine elections.

“Actually Obama is pretty popular in New Jersey. He’s as popular as Chris Christie,” Woolley said.

The Pascrell camp credited their victory to getting out the vote, especially in Paterson, the third largest city in New Jersey and where Pascrell has lived in for 42 years.

“You try to shake as many hands, try to talk to as many people as you can, knock on doors. I’m on my second pair of shoes,” Pascrell said.

Pascrell’s side was able to register thousands of new voters.

“The reason I voted for Pascrell was because he was the mayor of Paterson,” Trevor Young said.

Rothman unleashed a negative campaign against Pascrell, an old friend. Pascrell said he is not sure he can be friends with him again, but added he does support President Obama.

“I’m going to fight to see that the president is elected — that’s part of my job,” Pascrell said.

Pascrell will now face celebrity Rabbi Schmuley Boteach, the Republican nominee in the heavily Democratic district.

The New Jersey Democratic chairman said former President Clinton has been working hard to get President Obama re-elected. As for Rothman, a campaign spokesperson said he won’t run for public office again and plans on going back to practicing law.

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