During his final hours as Democratic state chairman yesterday, Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union) appointed himself and state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-ridge) to the State Legislative Redistricting Commission.
Cryan also appointed Maggie Moran, former Gov. Jon Corzine’s campaign manager and deputy chief of staff, to the Congressional Redistricting Commission.
That leaves the new Democratic chairman, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) with three seats to fill on the legislative commission and one to fill on the congressional commission.
The commissions, which are formed once every ten years, have the important task of drawing new congressional and legislative districts based on population trends in the latest census count. Adding special significance to the congressional commission this year is the expectation that New Jersey will lose a House seat.
On the state level, the chairs of both major political parties each choose five members for the commission, while the chief justice of the State Supreme Court chooses an 11th tie-breaking member. On the congressional commission, the state party chairs each choose two members, as does the senate president, the senate minority leader, the assembly speaker and the assembly minority leader.
Former Senate President Richard Codey (D-Roseland) would not confirm speculation that he also appointed a member of the congressional redistricting commission on his way out from that post.
State Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Newark), who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus, said that he sent a letter to Wisniewski this morning requesting that his caucus gets to choose a member, as they have in the past.
“We hear rumors about how some party leaders want to treat redistricting. I want to make sure we get an objective view of everything and we can hear the debates,” said Rice.
Wisniewksi, who attended the Chamber of Commerce breakfast this morning, just 14 hours into his job as chairman, said that he was not ready to comment on redistricting appointments.
“I’m not going to make any promises in the press about who will be on, who won’t be on,” he said. “I could not possibly satisfy everybody’s request for who should be on redistricting… There are lots of people who have legitimate issues and concerns, and they need to be addressed. We have to find a way of taking all those issues and concerns and fitting them into the number of seats we have. No easy task.”