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Rep. Bill Pascrell defeats Rep. Steve Rothman

at 10:49 PM ET, 06/05/2012

Updated at 12:14 a.m.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) defeated Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) in their primary Tuesday, scoring a big victory in a new district after the two incumbents’ districts were combined under the state’s new redistricting map.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Pascrell led Rothman 60 percent to 40 percent.

Pascrell had the endorsement of former president Bill Clinton, while Rothman got the late backing of President Obama. It is one of several races this cycle pitting a supporter of Hillary Clinton against an Obama supporter, but the first in which Obama himself has gotten involved.

In other congressional primaries held Tuesday, former congresswoman Heather Wilson easily won the GOP primary in the open New Mexico Senate race, and she will face Rep. Martin Heinrich (D), who turned aside challenge from up-and-coming state Auditor Hector Balderas.

In the New Jersey Senate race, state Sen. Joe Kyrillos easily won the GOP primary to face Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.). The race is not considered a top GOP target, but Kyrillos has raised a good amount of money and has the support for Gov. Chris Christie (R).

Downballot, Newark City Councilman Donald Payne Jr. won an easy victory in the Democratic primary to replace his father, former congressman Donald Payne (D-N.J.), who died earlier this year.

Republicans also appeared on pace to hold the Wisconsin state Senate, with three of four Republican state senators surviving recalls and a fourth ahead in early returns. Democrats targeted those four seats along with Gov. Scott Walker (R).

In Iowa, former state first lady Christie Vilsack was unopposed for the Democratic nomination to face Rep. Steve King (R), 2010 GOP nominee Ben Lange will face Rep. Bruce Braley (D), and attorney John Archer (D) will face Rep. Dave Loebsack (D). The state’s 3rd district will pit Reps. Leonard Boswell (D) and Tom Latham (R) against each other. Both were unopposed Tuesday.

In the race to replace Heinrich, Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham led state Sen. Eric Griego 41 percent to 36 percent with 42 percent of precincts reporting. Griego is a progressive favorite.

 
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