New Jersey’s redistricting commission adopted a congressional map that favors Democrats and shores up three of their four House members from politically competitive districts.
John E. Wallace Jr., a former state Supreme Court justice who served as the tiebreaking chair of a panel with six Republicans and six Democrats, said Wednesday he voted for the map submitted by Democrats after the commission approved a Republican-backed map in the 2011 redistricting.
“In the end, I decided to vote for the Democratic map simply because the last redistricting map was drawn by the Republicans,” Wallace said. “Thus, I concluded that fairness dictates that Democrats had the opportunity to have their map used for this next redistricting cycle.”
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The new lines boost Democratic Reps. Andy Kim of the 3rd District, Josh Gottheimer of the 5th District, and Mikie Sherrill of the 11th District. All were re-elected in 2020 with less than 54% of the vote.
But the new map is a setback for Rep. Tom Malinowski (D), whose competitive 7th District would absorb Republican precincts in the northwest. Malinowski was re-elected in 2020 by 1.2 percentage points over state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R), who announced a rematch earlier this year.
Democrats currently hold 10 of the 12 congressional districts in New Jersey.
Doug Steinhardt, a former New Jersey Republican Party chairman and the leader of the GOP delegation on the commission, said his side’s map would’ve kept about 85% of New Jersey residents in their current districts.
“To be candid, we’re disappointed in the final result,” Steinhardt said. “We’re disappointed in a process that disenfranchises most of the state’s voting population. We’re equally disappointed in a process that purported to promote equity, fairness, and competition but in the end has skewed those virtues.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Giroux in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org