Two North Jersey Democrats who are fighting each other to remain in Congress are tangling on gay marriage, abortion and other issues that test their liberal bona fides.

Reps. Steve Rothman and Bill Pascrell are arguing over who is more liberal as they spar in an hour-long debate in Montclair.

Both are seeking the Democratic nomination to represent the newly drawn 9th District.

The winner of the June 5 primary is almost certain to win in November in the solidly Democratic district that includes parts of Bergen, Passaic and Hudson counties.

Rothman sought to portray himself on Monday as more predictably liberal than his opponent in their second debate. Pascrell tried to demonstrate that he's more in step with the president and that his challenger and onetime friend is intentionally distorting his voting record.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)