The (Redistricting) Calm Before the Storm

Today’s meeting of the New Jersey Congressional Redistricting Committee was one of the calmest sessions I have witnessed in the State House, but don’t be fooled. With the loss of one seat in Congress, this commission’s deliberations are bound to heat up and provide us with some fireworks.

The session today was a formality, with no substantive issues discussed. By-laws were adopted and a Committee Secretary was appointed. The committee, which consists of six Democrats, six Republicans, and a mutually-agreed-upon independent tiebreaker, will re-draw the congressional election districts based on the population shifts enumerated in the 2010 U.S. Census.

There will be at least three public hearings, where advocacy groups can go on record and suggest parameters for the new maps. The first will be at Rutgers-Camden on September 22, and two others will be scheduled, most likely on the Rutgers campuses in New Brunswick and Newark.

State Democratic Party Chairman Assemblyman John Wisniewski led a similar effort earlier this year to redraw the lines of New Jersey’s legislative districts. He spoke today with Blue Jersey about the congressional redistricting – the video of his interview is below the fold.

The Commission’s web site is

Comments (4)

  1. Jay Lassiter

    ….that the first hearing will be near my house.  I can’t wait to testify.

  2. Bertin Lefkovic

    With his former chief-of-staff, Ed Farmer, on the commission, I think that it is highly unlikely that we will see Pascrell put in the same district as another Congressman.

    When I was playing around with Dave’s Redistricting Map last night, I created a district that put Pascrell’s hometown of Paterson in a district with half of Bergen County, setting up a potential primary election battle between him and Steve Rothman.  I also created a district that consisted of Sussex, Warren, Morris, and NW Essex, setting up a potential primary election battle between Rodney Frelinghuysen and Scott Garrett.

    Other districts that I created consist of…

    …the remainder of Passaic County and the other half of Bergen County.  It is probably a Republican-leaning district, but it could create an opportunity for someone like Blue Jersey’s own, Jeff Gardner, to run for Congress.

    …Hudson County and Elizabeth.  Safe for Sires.

    …the remainder of Essex County.  Safe for Payne, but could be a great district for someone like Ron Rice, Jr., who has progressive allies in Suburban Essex.

    …the remainder of Union County and parts of Middlesex and Somerset Counties.  This would be an open seat in one of the two most competitive districts in the state.

    …all of Hunterdon and Mercer Counties and part of Somerset County, which would force Leonard Lance and Chris Smith into a primary election battle with the winner taking on Rush Holt in one of the two most competitive districts in the state.

    …parts of Middlesex and Monmouth.  Safe for Pallone, but the district is mostly in Middlesex County, which means that someone ambitious and connected like Peter Barnes III could decide to take a shot at him in a primary election battle.

    …parts of Monmouth and Ocean County.  This would be a Republican-leaning open seat.

    …all of Burlington County except for Mount Laurel and part of Ocean County.  This would be a Republican-leaning open seat.

    …all of Camden County, part of Gloucester County, and Mount Laurel.  This would set up a general election battle between Rob Andrews and Jon Runyan.

    …all of Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, and Salem Counties and part of Gloucester County.  Safe for LoBiondo.

    This map would create safe seats for Andrews, Payne, Pallone, Rothman, Sires, and LoBiondo, a safe seat for either Frelinghuysen or Garrett, 3 Republican-leaning open seats, and two competitive seats, one containing three incumbents and one open.

    I think that progressives and members of the TPM should work together to advocate for a map along these lines.


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