NEW BRUNSWICK – The Democratic Redistricting Commissioners submitted their final map to Tiebreaking Member John Farmer, Jr. a short time ago and have mostly retired from the Heldrich.
As New Jersey prepares to lose a congressman owing to the loss of population in the Garden State, the main redistricting collision still concerns congressional districts 9 and 5, and the Democrats’ final map maintains an even fight between U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-9) and U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5), sources say.
The Republicans’ final map gives Garrett a four point edge in the head-to-head.
A source told PolitickerNJ.com that the final Democratic map also preserves Congressional District 3 as a stauts quo district.
At one point earlier in the week, the two sides fought a firefight over the district served at present by U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (R-3) as Democrat tried to make it more Democratic-leaning.
The D’s strategy from the start was to work with the idea very much in mind that New Jersey is a state with more Democrats than Republicans, where the last presidential contender to win was George H. W. Bush in 1988. In that spirit they tried initially to make 3 more Democratic by a little more than a percentage point, and have throughout argued for a dead even fight between Rothman and Garrett.
Their calculation has been that Rothman can beat N.J.’s most conservative delegation member in such even circumstances. A Republican source told PolitickerNJ.com that the four point edge they give Garrett on their map is bulletproof against a Democrat.
Sources close to Rothman have the warpaint on in and are ready for a fight with Garrett. But they are also fuming – and worried – about a Republican map that would remove Rothman from Teaneck, Hackensack and Englewood.
Sources say Rothman wouldn’t rule out running against U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-8), but acknowledge that intra-party warfare doesn’t fit Rothman well.
He’s contemplative, deliberative – in short, the easiest target in a trench fight.
In a way, said a Republican source, Rothman is not unlike U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7), another policy wonk, who, the GOP source said, is likely to “emerge as a big winner” in contrast with the Bergen-based congressman, whose back was similarly uncovered on the redistricting commission.
If Rothman – one of the state’s most liberal congresspeople – faces arch-conservative Garrett – it would be at least a $6 million New York media market extravaganza, a source told PolitickerNJ.com.