Dems head behind closed doors with Rosenthal and ‘map’

NEW BRUNSWICK – They have these little coffee bars at the Heldrich – one for the Republicans on one end of the floor and one for the Democrats down the hall and the doors open on one side and disgorge the D Team.

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) of West Deptford hobnobs with Assembly Majority Leader Joe Cryan (D-20) of Union Township.

“We need to talk,” Wisniewski tells one of his team members.

Moments later, 11th redistricting member Dr. Alan Rosenthal appears and says something to Wisniewski and counsel Angelo Genova about showing them “the map.”

The map

There has been buzz to this point of maps – those drawn by both Democrats and Republicans – but this is the first word – at least beyond the parties’ respective burrows – of a solitary map. Now maybe it’s one of several, granted the process is fluid, but considering the quest here with less than a week to go before the April 3rd deadline is a legislative map and at least two sources saying we are close – maybe they are at that point right now.  

A little later, Republican redistricting members Bill Palatucci and Irene Kim Asbury walk up to the makeshift office of Rosenthal where there is a map briefly visible tacked to the wall and Palatucci approaches it, studying it, just before the door closes.

The room soon packs with Republicans and they’re in there now – still, as of 5:20 p.m. – examining a map that Democrats presumably looked over with Number 11 before the GOP. 


The Democrats reconvene with Rosenthal shortly after 7 p.m.

The double doors of the Dems’ conference room burst open and redistricting commission Co-Chairman John Wisniewski of Sayreville appears, trailing his team. They tread over the carpet and down the hall to Rosenthal’s temporary office. sticks a camera over the shoulder of someone retreating into the room and clicks off a single shot that is successfully cupped by one of the people guarding the door and results in an unusable image. 

There is a Democratic Party operative prowling the halls and talking volubly on his cell phone.

“If Rosenthal can’t get a synthesized map, he’s going to present his own map, but that’s a map that will require five votes in addition to Rosenthal’s own vote),” says the operative.

Moments later, “It looks like Democrats are heading for the door, with their dinner faces,” a guy at the bar mumbles and there go Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange), Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo Chief of Staff Phil Alagia and others, on their way out the sliding front doors of the Heldrich at almost 7:30 p.m.

“I don’t know,” Palatucci, emerging from a room, tells when asked if the process will spill past Friday.

Dems head behind closed doors with Rosenthal and ‘map’