I’m not sure what’s going on in New Jersey these days, but it’s certainly interesting. The Garden State is going through their post-census redistricting like everyone else, but it’s taken a rather unexpected turn. Jersey is a state which is generally just as blue as my home turf of New York, just across the border, but redistricting up here is almost always a nightmare for the GOP. (For example, we have one of the most Rorschach test looking, gerrymandered districts around, designed to keep Democrat Maurice Hinchey in office until he either retires or expires.) But in the land of Chris Christie, even with the serious generic ballot advantage held by Democrats, the GOP has scored themselves a bit of holiday cheer.
Democrats got a pre-Christmas lump of coal Friday, when a bipartisan New Jersey panel selected a GOP-drawn redistricting plan that imperils one House Democrat and shores up several Republicans.
Under the plan, Democratic Rep. Steve Rothman, a veteran member of the House Appropriations Committee, has been thrust into a Republican-oriented district with GOP Rep. Scott Garrett, severely diminishing his reelection prospects…
New Jersey is shedding one of its 13 seats in the current round of reapportionment — meaning that, with all of the state’s House members running for reelection, two incumbents would have to face off.
The map also solidifies the districts of two vulnerable junior Republicans, Reps. Jon Runyan and Leonard Lance. Runyan, a former professional football player who ousted the late Democratic Rep. John Adler in 2010, will shed the Democratic-oriented Cherry Hill from his 3rd District seat. Lance, a sophomore member, will see his northern New Jersey district lose a batch of Democratic-aligned areas.
The short version of the story is that Rothman is stuck with a choice of either going up against Garrett in one of the state’s few Republican friendly districts or engaging in a war of attrition against Bill Pascrell in the neighboring, Democrat held district. Either way, the prospects for the Democrats look the same, coming out at a net loss of one. Rothman and Garrett are both sitting on roughly $1.5M in their campaign coffers, but the Democrat may find it a bit more difficult to pry open people’s wallets for donations in his new, more conservative turf.
The Politico article also notes that this comes on the heels of neighboring Pennsylvania approving a map which will push two Democrats into a face-off in a district out in the far western reaches of the state. So my exit question today, as I prepare for Christmas Eve here at home, is not for you the readers, but for Saint Nick.
You’ve been pretty nice to the GOP in New Jersey and Pennsylvania this year. Any chance you can swing that sleigh a little bit to the north and help us out here in New York?