After the release of two draft legislative cards Last week, all 120 New Jersey lawmakers had the opportunity to consider how to change their own counties to fit each proposal – and for about two dozen of them the future looks bleak.
This is because every sentence detaches some chapters of their current constituency, the Democratic map moves by eight and the Republican by eleven, and draws others into versions of their current constituency that would be difficult for them to hold in a general election. But when asked yesterday about the proposed changes, five of the affected incumbents expressed optimism and patience about the redistribution process.
One of the incumbent Republican presidents most threatened by the Democratic card is newly elected MP Brandon Umba (R-Lumberton). Umba will be thrown out of his current competitive district, 8th, and planted instead in redrawn 7th districtwho last year would have voted for Gov. Phil Murphy by seven points and would probably have been invincible to Republicans except in a truly exceptional political environment.
“We will allow the process to play out and see what happens,” Umba said of the proposal. “I am focused on my first term, and to work for the next two years for the residents of the 8th district. Everything that happens during the redistribution is happening, and then we will decide. “
On the Republican map, meanwhile, the hometown of State Senator Linda Greenstein of 14th Plainsboro County is taken from her current district and put in the 17thwhere State Senator Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) also lives.
If such a proposal is made, Greenstein will have to decide whether to stay in Plainsboro and compete in a predominantly new district or move to the new boundaries of the 14th arrondissement, which has been portrayed as more Republican than his current incarnation. Naturally, Greenstein said she preferred the Democrats’ proposal.
“I like the Democratic Card because it keeps the county almost the same,” Greenstein said. “It’s a big area; this is not some brand new area. This is an area that has existed for some time … And the people in this area seem to be very happy and satisfied with the way things are going. ”
The redesign of the Republican Party of Central Jersey also brings together 12th District Senator Sam Thompson (R-Old Bridge) and 18th District Sterley Stanley Stanley (D-East Brunswick) into a fully refurbished, highly competitive new 12th District.
For Thompson, such maneuvering is not new. He was previously a member of the 13th constituency, which covered his hometown of Old Bridge and northern Manmouth County, until a 2011 map drawn up by Democrats placed him in a new district that stretched south to Ocean and Burlington counties.
“Republican proposal [this year] is doing the same thing the Democrats did to me ten years ago, ”Thompson said. “Ten years ago, I had only two cities left: the Old Bridge, where I live, and Matavan. So does the Republican proposal. I would have saved only these two cities, and my Assembly partner Ronald Dancer would have been expelled from the county. ”
But despite a complete overhaul of his district, Thompson – who turns 88 on election day 2023 and has been facing rumors of retirement for years – did not look worried.
«[Both parties] it kind of sticks to me, but I’m not worried, ”he said.
The redrawing of Central Jersey further moves East Brunswick, which has been in the 18th arrondissement along with Edison since the opening of the 40-county system in 1973, to the 12th arrondissement. This is probably bad news for Stanley, who would have exchanged tens of thousands of South Asian voters in his current constituency for a much whiter and much larger Republican constituency – but like Thompson and Umba, he didn’t have harsh words for the map.
“It’s well above my pay grade, so I’m not worried about that,” Stanley said. “Wherever the district goes, I will still campaign no matter what.”
Although the political future of many lawmakers is at stake because of each card, there are a few who can benefit significantly, including 7th County MP Carol Murphy (D-Laurel). On the Democratic map, Murphy’s teammates, State Senator Troy Singleton (D-Delran) and MP Herb Konaway (D-Delran), will be transferred to the 8th arrondissement, leaving her in the driver’s seat for an open seat in the 7th arrondissement Senate.
Murphy said she sent a letter praising the Democratic Party’s proposal to unite the Rankakas Creek district, which includes her hometown of Mount Laurel, as well as other cities to be relocated from the 8th to the 7th.
“As a person who lives along the Rankakas creek, … I see that these people and businesses are united not only from an economic point of view, but also from a purely point of view of relations with each other,” she said. “But I also know the people I represent now, and I’m happy with them, so in any case, I’ll still be close to everyone I represent.”
Starting today, the Legislative Distribution Commission will be staying at the Central Jersey Hotel to publish the final map. During this process, tie-break participant Philip Karchman can tell each side to move current leaders back to their current areas if possible by eliminating part of the chaos created by each proposal.
All lawmakers who find themselves in a difficult situation with one or both cards should hope that Karkhman or their party delegation will stand up for them; if not, 2022 could be a year of tough decisions.