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Deja vu in NJ’s 9th Congressional District?

The race is shaping up to be the same as two years ago

Rep. Bill Pascrell virtually addresses the New Beginnings Displaced Homemakers Network of New Jersey annual awards on May 12. Photo courtesy of Pascrell.

Things are shaping up to largely be a repeat of 2020 in the upcoming General Election for the 9th Congressional District of New Jersey, which encompasses Secaucus and parts of Kearny.

Barring any surprises, following the respective Democratic and Republican Primary Elections on June 7, the race for the 9th District will mainly be another bout between 13-term Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. and U.S. Air Force veteran William “Billy” Prempeh.

In the 2020 election, Pascrell previously swept Prempeh by 105,045 votes, 66 percent to 32 percent in 2020. This was 203,674 or 65.8 percent of the vote to 98,629 or 31.9 percent, a difference of over 34 percentage points. In a distant third was Veteran For Change Party candidate Chris Auriemma with 2.3 percent of the vote or 7,239.

Pascrell unopposed in primary

Pascrell launched his campaign back in December of 2021. Since then, things have been relatively quiet for the Democrat when it comes to this congressional race, which includes Secaucus and Kearny but is more centered around Paterson and other municipalities in the center of the district across Passaic and Bergen Counties.

Pascrell last fended off two challengers back in 2020, Zinovia Spezakis and Alp Basaran. But this year, he does not face a primary challenge, with no one filing to run against him in the Democratic Primary by the April deadline.

While other long-time congressmen, such as the 8th Congressional District’s Rep. Albio Sires, are retiring after decades in the House of Representatives, Pascrell is looking to stay and continue to represent his constituents. In recent years while advocating and working with Passaic, Bergen, and Hudson Counties in Congress, Pascrell has also been an outspoken critic of the Trump Administration and was proud to vote to ratify the electoral vote for President Joe Biden after the insurrection on January 6.

In the first quarter of 2022, Pascrell has raised $228,797, according to the Federal Election Commission. This adds to his already expansive funds now totaling $1,730,496 to support his re-election campaign for a 14th term.

Republican establishment backs Prempeh

Prempeh, a Black Trump supporter from Paterson who has not stopped campaigning since his first loss to Pascrell in 2020, has seen the Republican establishment line up behind him again. Prempeh has so far won the nomination of the Bergen County Republicans and the Passaic County Republicans.

Prempeh previously faced a challenge from Timothy Walsh in 2020, although Walsh unofficially withdrew from the contest before the Primary Election. While Prempeh started out seemingly unopposed in 2022, fellow Republican Patrick Quinn switched his run for Congress from the 11th Congressional District to the 9th Congressional District after his hometown of Pompton Lakes was redistricted there.

As of late March, Prempeh was triumphing over Quinn, securing the Bergen County Republican nomination by a 7 to 1 margin, 154-20 or 89 to 11 percent. And when the April 4 filing deadline came around, Quinn did not submit petitions, making Prempeh’s run in the primary unopposed.

In the first quarter of 2022, Prempeh raised $25,663, according to FEC filings. And he is spending nearly as much as he is raising, leaving him with just $18,462 cash on hand going forward.

Libertarian Party candidate enters race

The Libertarian Party is also running a candidate in the 9th District, Sean Armstrong. However, not much information on Armstrong is currently available, including no FEC filings.

While Pascrell is ultimately expected to not only win his Primary Election again but also the General Election, the race is sure to heat up following June 7 on the road to November 8.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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