Edit: A federal district court found in 2001 that New Jersey’s legislative district residency requirement violated the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution, so much of what’s in this diary is incorrect. Girgenti can move to Paterson to run in the 35th district if he wants. Whether he is serious or merely bluffing about moving is another matter entirely. If he does “move” to Paterson before he submits his petition (on which he certify that he is a resident of the district in which he is running), someone should check to make sure the address submitted actually exists and that Girgenti is actually residing there. I leave the original diary below the fold.
The hottest rumor out of the Redistricting commission has State Senator John Girgenti’s (and challenger Jeff Gardner’s) hometown of Hawthorne moving from the 35th to the 38th district. This would open up a State Senate seat in the 35th, for which the presumptive favorite would be Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (who happens to be Hispanic).
Apparently, Senator Girgenti has other ideas. PolitickerNJ reports that Girgenti may be planning to move to Paterson to run for re-election in the 35th.
There’s one small problem with Girgenti’s plan: he can’t accomplish it without violating the New Jersey State Constitution. Article IV, Section I, paragraph 2 says:
No person shall be a member of the Senate who shall not have attained the age of thirty years, and have been a citizen and resident of the State for four years, and of the district for which he shall be elected one year, next before his election. No person shall be a member of the General Assembly who shall not have attained the age of twenty-one years and have been a citizen and resident of the State for two years, and of the district for which he shall be elected one year, next before his election.
Girgenti’s move to Paterson would come barely six months before the general election, so he would not appear to meet the one-year district residency requirement.
Girgenti might argue that he actually did live in the 35th district for a full year before the election, because he moved from the old 35th in Hawthorne to the new 35th in Paterson. But the problem with this argument is it depends on the numbering scheme the commission adopts, which is completely arbitrary. If the commission chooses to renumber the districts from north to south and put Camden in the 35th, could Girgenti run for State Senate in Camden? Surely he could not.
Girgenti should abandon his foolish and unconstitutional plan and save himself some money.