Gov. Chris Christie’s political strategist Mike DuHaime, former Burlington County Freeholder Director Aubrey Fenton, Morris County attorney Eric Jaso, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Cape May Freeholder Susan Sheppard, and Sherine El-Abd of Clifton are on the Republicans’ Congressional Redistricting squad, according to GOP sources familiar with the picks, to be made public today in time for a 4 p.m. deadline.
DuHaime’s close association with a powerful, hands-on governor gives the team an obvious Christie imprint.
Sheppard was an anti-establishment GOP candidate who was victorious last year on a wave of Tea Party anger. Sources say she will protect U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo.
Beaten in his re-election bid in 2008, African-American preacher Fenton was a potential lieutentant governor candidate in 2009. A Burlington County loyalist, he is entrusted with watching out for U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan.
Casagrande is a diehard Monmouth County Republican from Colts Neck first elected to the legislature in 2007, and El-Abd is a decades-long Republican activist who served on the NJ Steering Committee for Bush-Cheney 2004.
“Selecting members to redraw New Jersey’s congressional districts is a deliberative process and after careful consideration, we have nominated citizens that represent the rich communities and divergent views that make our state great,” State GOP Chairman Sam Raia said in a statement after PolitickerNJ.com broke the story.
“We went through great lengths to identify a panel of individuals that will bring a wide variety of skills to the process and we are confident that these men and women will provide thoughtful and prudent insight to the redistricting process.”