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Rep. Bill Pascrell. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Pascrell defeats primary challengers

Congressman will face Bill Prempeh in general election

By Nikita Biryukov, July 08 2020 2:58 am

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) will defeat two progressive primary challengers to win the nomination for a 13th term in Congress Tuesday, the New Jersey Globe projects.

Pascrell, one of New Jersey’s most progressive congressional incumbents, faced challenges from Democratic Socialist Alp Basaran and environmental activist Zina Spezakis.

The congressman got 82% of the vote, while Spezakis got 16% and Basaran got just 2%.

The challengers never quite found their feet.

Pascrell won support form each of the district’s Democratic county organizations. The victories caused some outcry from Spezakis, who claimed she wasn’t invited to screen for county lines.

The incumbent also outraised his opponents, bringing in more than $1.1 million to Spezakis’ $275,179.70 and Basaran’s $79,757.

Despite the organizational and fundraising advantages, Pascrell didn’t take the challenges lightly. He’s spent more than $1 million on his re-election so far this cycle, though his war chest of nearly $1.7 million on June 17 dwarfs the $5,738.39 Basaran reported having at the time.

Spezakis had $22,602.06 on hand then.

The district is safely Democratic, though Pascrell will face Billy Prempeh, who leads primary opponent Tim Walsh by 64 points, at the polls in November.

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