Legendary Civil Rights leader (and Georgia Congressman) John Lewis is coming to New Jersey next month to fundraise for his friend and colleague, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9). Lewis has a scheduled stop in New York next Monday and afterwards he will swing by the Stony Hill Inn in Hackensack to see Pascrell.
The Democrat from Paterson faces Zina Spezakis, a progressive clean technology investor and environmental activist, in the 2020 Democratic Primary.
Veterans of the House Ways and Means Committee, Pascrell and Lewis have a longstanding political history, going back to when Lewis first campaigned with the Patersonian at Passaic High School in 1996, when Pascrell knocked off incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Martini.
In 2012, Lewis backed again Pascrell, this time in a bruising Democratic Primary, and wrote a letter on his behalf, countering Pascrell rival Steve Rothman’s challenge of his absentee vote totals.
“We work together,” Lewis wrote. “I have visited his district. He is a hard working and dedicated Member of Congress. He speaks up and speaks out for the people he serves. He deserves the help and support of all the people of his district.”
Pascrell won that race, which to this day he considers the victory of his career.
Four years later, Lewis appeared at Pascrell’s side in Hackensack to formally back Josh Gottheimer, who was in a rundown with incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5).
It’s tough to shake off the equivalent of a section of Mount Rushmore getting dropped on your back with two weeks to go before Election Day, but that’s what Democrats banked on to finish off Garrett, when they flew in living legend Lewis to deal the final ignominious blows to the flailing, rickety movement conservative congressman.
A Democratic congressman from Georgia who crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge at the height of the Civil Rights movement, Lewis was more than happy to add his own considerable voice to the challenger’s cause at a packed rally in the Logan Life Center.