The Record's Herb Jackson wrote about 2012 congressional redistricting in his Capital Games column this week, noting a PolitickerNJ.com fantasy map that pitted Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen and Democrat Bill Pascrell against each other in a general election contest. Jackson reported that Democrats would like to see Steven Rothman pick up Scott Garrett's portion of Bergen County and force Frelinghuysen into a primary with Scott Garrett after New Jersey loses one of its thirteen House seats after the 2010 census.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates New Jersey's population at 8,724,560; that means the size of a congressional district would be about 727,047 – an increase of about 79,789 people per district.
Moving Rothman west is a viable option, although it could make his district more politically competitive down the road. Bergen County has an estimated 2007 population of 904,037 – 176,990 more than the ideal size of a congressional district. A Frelinguysen vs. Garrett contest would also force Pascrell to pick up more Republican towns – not a problem for him, but maybe for a future Democrat looking to succeed him later in the decade. It would also push more Republican towns into the current seventh district – not a problem for the GOP if they hold Mike Ferguson's seat, but perhaps a non-starter if Linda Stender wins.