December 22, 2011: Redistricting Commission Unveils Twelve New Congressional Districts that All Look Like New Jersey
The game of musical chairs that is congressional redistricting progressed late into tonight, with the apparent focus remaining on the elimination of one of three districts in the northeastern part of the state.
But as the third day of meetings continued, there was finally a vote on a new map to reduce the number of New Jersey’s congressional districts from 13 to 12 as mandated by the 2010 Census.
“The new map has twelve districts that all have the shape of New Jersey,” noted former state Attorney General John Farmer, the independent appointee who would have had to cast a tiebreaking vote if necessary.
“And while the Garden State population outside of those Jersey-shaped areas will have no representation in Congress, the map does look much nicer this way.” Farmer also pointed out that “there was none of the usual gerrymandering” that accompanied re-districting in the past.
The chairman of the Republican team, Mike DuHaime, a longtime political strategist, confirmed that this was the “best compromise we could come to…”.
“I think there’s been good progress on both sides. It’s been an open dialogue both between the two sides and with (Farmer),” declared DuHaime. Former Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts, who is leading the Democrats, agreed. “It’s been intense but somewhat collegial,” mentioned Roberts.
According to the National Commission on Congressional Management, this type of redistricting is much easier in “squarer states like Kansas, Colorado or Wyoming, but tougher in New Jersey.