Congressional redistricting hammering at the Heldrich puts 5 and 9 at ground zero

Sources at the Heldrich Hotel say the Republican and Democratic redistricting commissions are primarily concentrated on the 5th and 9th Congressional Districts, but the process still keeps other parts of the map in play.  

It’s volatile.

“I don’t want to say it’s down to a single geographic area,” Republican Redistricting Team Leader Mike DuHaime told reporters.  

Sources in both camps anticipated arriving at a conclusion, if not tonight, then by tomorrow.  

A short time ago, African-American leaders, including a representative from the NAACP, left here confident that North Jersey minority communities, including the Asian-American community, would not be separated in a way that would water down their interests.  

Their a.m. concern was that a greater distribution of minorities would weaken minority politial power.  

But by the end of the afternoon, “There is an honest effort by both sides to come up with something that adheres to a one-man, one-vote platform,” said NAACP political director George Gore.  

A source close to the process told the minority demand would not jeopardize the Democratic commissioners’ abilities to create a district where U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman, (D-9), has a chance to win in a fight with U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett, (R-5).  

Part of the discussion today concerned a Republican argument that the 2nd Congressional District is, on paper, a Democratic district that happens to be occupied by U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, (R-2).  

The GOP argument enables the commissioners to make a case to 13th tiebreaking member John Farmer that if one congressman must be sacrificed, the retention of the 2nd in close to its current form would give Democrats a seat whenever LoBiondo retires.  

A Democratic Party source at the Heldrich, however, refuted the notion that it is a Democratic district on paper, citing past election performance data.

Congressional redistricting hammering at the Heldrich puts 5 and 9 at ground zero