Steve Rothman

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Steven Rothman, Esq.

Hon. Steve Rothman
Born Oct. 14, 1952
Englewood, NJ
Nationality American
Education Law
Alma mater Syracuse, Wash. Univ. School of Law
Occupation Former politician; Practicing attorney.
Years active 1978-Present
Home town Englewood, NJ
Known for Congressman, Former Mayor of Englewood, NJ
Title Englewood Progress
Religious beliefs Jewish
Children John, Karen (by J.A. Keller).

Steven R. "Steve" Rothman (born October 14, 1952) is an American politician from the state of New Jersey. He is a former U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 9th congressional district, serving from January 3, 1997 to January 3, 2013. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He was defeated on June 5, 2012 in a primary election by fellow incumbent Bill Pascrell.

Early life, education, and pre-congressional career

Rothman was born on October 14, 1952, in Englewood, and grew up in nearby Tenafly, where he graduated from Tenafly High School in 1970. He earned a B.A. degree in 1974 from Syracuse University, where he majored in Political Philosophy and was awarded a J.D. degree from the Washington University School of Law in 1977. He worked as an attorney from 1978 to 1993. He served two terms as Mayor of Englewood, from 1983 to 1989, and served as a Surrogate Court judge in Bergen County from 1993 to 1996.[1]

U.S. House of Representatives



In 1996, incumbent Democrat U.S. Representative Robert Torricelli of the 9th congressional district decided to run for the United States Senate that was being vacated by Bill Bradley, creating a vacancy in the house seat.[2] Rothman decided to run for the seat and won the Democratic primary with 79% of the vote, defeating Robert M. Gordon with 17% and Lynne Athay Dow who received 3% of the vote.[3][4] In the general election, he defeated Republican County Clerk Kathleen Donovan 56.6%-42.2%, with two independent candidates taking up the remainder of the vote.[5][6][7][8]


Rothman won re-election to a second term, defeating Mayor Steve Lonegan of Bogota, New Jersey 64.6%-33.8%, with three independent candidates receiving less than 2% of the vote.[9][10][11][12]


During this time period, he won re-election every two years with at least a 36 point margin.[13]


Rothman's 2008 re-election campaign raised eyebrows when it spent $1.3 million in a race against a little-known, poorly funded Republican challenger, including outlays of $59,000 in campaign funds to buy outright a hybrid SUV and $15,000 for a lavish party at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. Rothman's Chief of Staff at the time, Robert Decheine, acknowledged to the news media that Rothman's 2008 re-election campaign had spent no money on advertising or direct mail.[14] He defeated Republican Vince Micco 68%-31%.[15]


He defeated Republican Michael Agosta 61%-38%, his slimmest margin of victory since his first election in 1996.[16]


After redistricting, the town Rothman was living in, Fair Lawn, New Jersey, was placed in New Jersey's Fifth District, which was represented by Republican Scott Garrett. Instead of attempting to defeat the incumbent in another district, Rothman elected to continue serving the Ninth District. To this effect, he moved back to Englewood so he could stay in the district, which with redistricting put him in a primary race with fellow Democratic Representative Bill Pascrell of Paterson.[17] Rothman currently represents 53% of the new 9th, as Pascrell represents 43% of the CD.[18] Rothman had been endorsed by Hudson County, New Jersey Democratic Chairman Mark Smith and Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato.[19] Pascrell defeated him 61%-39%.[20] The redistricting removed the parts of Jersey City, North Bergen, Hackensack and most of Teaneck that Rothman had represented in the old Ninth for the previous 16 years. It put the towns of Paterson, Clifton and Passaic that had been represented by Congressman Pascrell for 16 years, into the new Ninth District. In the 2012 primary battle, the turnout in Paterson, Passaic and Clifton was unprecedented for a Democratic Congressional Primary. Pascrell had been endorsed by the Passaic County Democratic Organization. [citation needed]

According to Record columnist Alfred Doblin, that the state redistricters "threw Rothman under the bus" [21] Doblin wrote that "According to Merriam-Webster, a mensch is a person of integrity and honor. Steve Rothman is a mensch." He went on to say that "No doubt, Rothman can come off as a policy wonk rather than a charismatic figure if not kept in check." [21]

Rothman's candidacy in the 2012 primary race reportedly devolved into a highly competitive proxy war over Israel, between the state’s pro-Israel community and a growing constituency of Arab voters who have accused a sitting congressman of putting Israel’s interests before America’s. Aref Assaf, president of the New Jersey-based American Arab Forum, published a column in the Newark Star Ledger titled, “Rothman is Israel’s Man in District 9” in which he wrote:

“As total and blind support becomes the only reason for choosing Rothman, voters who do not view the elections in this prism will need to take notice. Loyalty to a foreign flag is not loyalty to America’s flag.”[22]

Arabic-language campaign posters produced by Pascrell supporters reportedly encouraged the “Arab diaspora community” to elect Pascrell, “the friend of the Arabs.” The poster touted the race as “the most important election in the history of the Arab American community.”[22][23][24]

Susan Rosenbluth, publisher of the New Jersey-based Jewish Voice and Opinion wrote that "a number of Arab-American constituents have come out with outrageous attacks on Rothman," and commented that "I haven’t heard a dual loyalty charge for years.” She also sharply criticized Pascrell for remaining silent and refusing to condemn the charges of dual loyalty.[24][25][26][27]


In Congress, Rothman helped secure money for improving transportation and relieving highway congestion, improving local homeland security, police and firefighting technology, improving education, providing relief to the unemployed, and sponsoring a bill to stop large airplanes from taking off at Teterboro Airport because of the excessive noise in residential areas. Rothman is also credited for saving the New Jersey Meadowlands from urban construction and securing millions of dollars for the protection and study of the environment and wildlife. He has consistently supported veterans' groups in New Jersey. [citation needed]

Rothman strongly opposed Former President George W. Bush's tax-cut plans, his health care issues, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge oil drilling plan, and various other Republican Party (United States) and Bush Administration backed plans. Rothman earned an F from the taxpayers advocacy organization National Taxpayers Union in 2004. [citation needed]

In September 2009, Rothman was criticized by the Center for Public Integrity, a non-partisan government watchdog organization, for his role in securing a $1.5 million earmark appropriation for a defense contracting firm that had hired his former employee Jeff Zucker as its lobbyist. Zucker contributed and raised thousands of dollars for Rothman's campaign fund.[28] News accounts later reported that a witness in a federal corruption trial had offered testimony asserting that Rothman had written several letters supporting the clients of a lobbying firm co-owned by Dennis Oury, who subsequently pled guilty to the federal charges; Rothman had been one of the largest beneficiaries of Oury's campaign contributions in the years prior to Oury's conviction.[29]

In October 2010, the New York Times reported the announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that it was revoking an approval granted to an experimental patch purporting to heal injured knees,[30] an approval that an F.D.A. report stated had been improperly granted in 2008 in part as a result of "extreme" and "unusual" political pressure mounted by Rothman and three other New Jersey legislators. Executives at the company that produced the patch, ReGen Biologics, which was based in Rothman's district in Hackensack, had contributed a total of $11,300 to his various campaign committees.[31] The Times criticized Rothman by name in a stinging editorial describing the episode as "a shabby affair" that "shines much-needed light on the insidious ways that politicians can influence regulatory decisions — and the insidious influence of money in politics."[32]

Rothman has a lifetime rating of 82.54% with Progressive Punch, which in 2006 ranked him as the 162nd most Progressive member of Congress. He was listed by as the 107th most powerful person in the House of Representatives and the 104th most powerful Democrat.[33] According to the National Journal, Rothman had a composite liberal score of 82 as of 2006.

Rothman was featured on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, in Stephen Colbert's part nine of the "Better Know A District" segment, which highlighted Rothman and New Jersey's 9th District, and originally aired on January 12, 2006.[34] In February 2010, Rothman announced $4.7 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Defense to train military medical professionals in bloodless medicine at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.[35]

Committee assignments

  • United States House Committee on Appropriations|Committee on Appropriations
    • United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
    • United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

Caucus memberships

  • Congressional Missing and Exploited Children Caucus
  • House Caucus on U.S.-Israel Security Cooperation
  • United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus
  • U.S.-Philippines Friendship Congressional Caucus
  • Congressional Arts Caucus
  • Co-Chair, Congressional Kurdish Committee

Electoral history

New Jersey's 9th congressional district: Results 1996–2010[36][37]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1996[6] Steve Rothman 117,646 55.8% Kathleen Donovan 89,005 42.2% Arthur Rosen Independent 2,730 1.3% Leon Myerson Independent 1,549 0.7%
1998[9] Steve Rothman 91,330 64.6% Steve Lonegan 47,817 33.8% Michael Perrone Independent 1,349 1.0% Michael Koontz Independent 686 0.5% *
2000 Steve Rothman 140,462 68% Joseph Tedeschi 61,984 30% Lewis Pell Independent 2,273 1% Michael Perrone Independent 1,072 1% *
U.S. House election, 2002 Steve Rothman 97,108 70% Joseph Glass 42,088 30%
U.S. House election, 2004 Steve Rothman 146,038 68% Edward Trawinski 68,564 32% David Daly Libertarian 1,649 1%
U.S. House election, 2006 Steve Rothman 105,853 71% Vincent Micco 40,879 28% Michael Jarvis The Moderate Choice 1,363 1%
U.S. House election, 2008 Steve Rothman 151,182 68% Vincent Micco 69,503 31% Michael Perrone Independent/Progressive 3,200 1%
U.S. House election, 2010 Steve Rothman 83,564 61% Michael A. Agosta 52,082 38% Patricia Alessandrini Green 1,980 1%
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1998, Kenneth Ebel received 277 votes. In 2000, Robert Corriston received 980 votes.

Personal life

Steve Rothman has two children: John and Karen by Jeanne Alice Keller, 1983-1995, divorced.

Rothman married the former Jennifer Anne Beckenstein on August 18, 2006, after having met her through the Jewish dating service JDate. The combined family resided in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.[38]

On January 18, 2011, Rothman’s office announced his divorce from Jennifer Rothman.[39]


  1. About Steve, Representative Steven Rothman. Accessed July 4, 2012.
  2. via Associated Press. "FLORIO SAYS HE WON'T RUN FOR SENATE", The Press of Atlantic City, October 11, 1995. Accessed July 4, 2012. "After weeks of openly toying with the idea, former Gov. Jim Florio on Tuesday said he will not run for Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley's seat next year.... Florio pledged support for U.S. Rep. Robert Torricelli, who has lined up major Democratic Party backing and more than $1 million for a Senate run."
  3. Official List - Primary Election Returns for the Office of U.S. House of Representatives for Election Held June 4, 1996, New Jersey Department of State Division of Elections, July 2, 1996. Accessed July 4, 2012.
  4. NJ District 09 - D Primary: 1996, Accessed July 4, 2012.
  5. Newman, Andy. "Torricelli's Old Seat Taken by Rothman", The New York Times, November 6, 1996. Accessed July 4, 2012."The Congressional seat left open by Robert G. Torricelli's successful run for the United States Senate was filled by a fellow Democrat. Steven A. Rothman, the former Mayor of Mr. Torricelli's hometown of Englewood, defeated Kathleen A. Donovan, the Bergen County Clerk and former chairwoman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in the Ninth District race."
  6. 6.0 6.1 Official List - General Election Returns for the Office of House of Representatives for Election Held November 5, 1996, New Jersey Department of State Division of Elections, January 31, 1997. Accessed July 4, 2012.
  7. Carle, Robin H. Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 1996, Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, July 29, 1977. Accessed July 4, 2012.
  8. NJ District 9 - 1996, Accessed July 4, 2012.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Official List - Candidate Returns for House of Representatives for November 1998 General Election, New Jersey Department of State Division of Elections, December 1, 1998. Accessed July 4, 2012.
  10. Lewin, Tamar. "THE 1998 ELECTIONS: STATE BY STATE -- NORTHEAST; NEW JERSEY", The New York Times, November 5, 1998. Accessed July 4, 2012.
  11. Jeff Trandahl. Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1998, Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, January 3, 1999. Accessed July 4, 2012.
  12. NJ District 9 - 1998, Accessed July 4, 2012.
  14. "Rothman Used Re-Election Funds for Hybrid SUV, and Convention Shindig, Reports Say", The Jersey Journal, January 4, 2009.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Doblin, Alfred (Dec 23, 2011). "Doblin: Steve Rothman in the belly of the whale". Editorial. The Record. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 Rothman is Israel's man in District 9 by Aref Assaf, Newark Star Ledger, February 19, 2012.(original column by Assaf)
  23. Defeating the Jewish Alinskyites by Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, June 7, 2012.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Jersey Roar - Democratic House primary turns into ethnic proxy war over Israel by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, June 1, 2012.
  25. Pascrell (Still) Won't Repudiate anti-Semitic Slurs by Joel Himelfarb, Investigative Project on Terrorism, June 4, 2012.
  26. Pascrell Stays Silent on Dual-Loyalty Slur by Alana Goodman, Commentary Magazine, February 24, 2012.
  27. UPDATE: Pascrell backer: Rothman is a 'patriot,' but campaign won't condemn Assaf by Zach Silberman, Washington Jewish Week, February 23, 2012.
  28. [1]Center for Public Integrity, "The Murtha Method: Computer Analysis Shows 12 of 16 House Defense Subcommittee Members in Controversial Circles of Lobbyists, Earmarks, and Campaign Cash", September 9, 2009
  29. [2] Edge, Wally,, "Rothman's Weak Fundraising Could Lead to Retirement Speculation", October 16, 2009
  30. [3] Harris, Gardiner, "F.D.A. Vows to Revoke Approval of Device", New York Times, October 14, 2010
  31. [4] Harris, Gardiner and Halbfinger, David, "F.D.A. Reveals It Fell to a Push by Lawmakers", New York Times, September 24, 2009.
  32. [5] Editorial, "Science and Lobbying at the F.D.A.", New York Times, October 4, 2010
  33. [6] Congress.Org's Rating for Steve Rothman,
  34. [7]Colbert Report "Better Know A District: New Jersey's 9th" video clip, Comedy Central website
  35. Jess, Kevin. "U.S military to train in bloodless medicine". Digital Journal, accessed February 7, 2011
  36. [8] Website of the Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives
  37. NJ Secretary of State 2010 election results
  38. Amy Argetsinger; and Roxanne Roberts. "'Leaner and Meaner' Rove Has Less Weight to Throw Around", The Washington Post, August 30, 2006. Accessed March 29, 2011. "Matched: Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.), 53, who got teased when gossip columns and his hometown paper discovered his online personal ad two years ago (brown-eyed Libra, enjoys swimming, wine and jazz), had the last laugh Aug. 18 when he married Jennifer Anne Beckenstein, 48 -- a food bank publicist whom he met through -- in Nyack, N.Y. The two will honeymoon later in the year, his office said; for now, they're busy combining their five teens into one household in Fair Lawn, N.J."
  39. Jackson, Herb. "Rothman divorces". The Record (Bergen County). Retrieved 16 August 2011. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert Torricelli
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 9th congressional district

Succeeded by
Bill Pascrell
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)