Since the founding of New Jersey’s 40-county system in 1973, the 31st Legislature has had a simple arrangement: most of the county’s population is in Jersey City and the rest in Bayonne, the former typically winning two seats in the legislature and the latter gets one.
But redistribution this year added element rogue. Due to the huge population growth of Hudson County, the 32nd and 33rd counties in the north had to shrink, and Kearney, the largest city in the Western Hudson, was relocated to the 31st county.
This means that for the first time in history, democratic leaders in Jersey City and Bayonne will not be able to decide matters solely among themselves. And although Kearney Mayor Alberto Santos will not fight to immediately send Kearney’s politician to Trenton, he said he is waiting for a seat at the legislature.
“My preferred route would be if there were three mayors and a senator [Sandra] Cunningham sat down together and considered how, in our opinion, the county would be best represented, ”Santos said. “I don’t know if that means one from each municipality or two from Jersey City. It should be democratic, and we need to look at the number of residents. “
Jersey City makes up just over half of the new district, while Bayonne – 30% and Kearney – 18%.
Currently, Cunningham, Trenton is joined by Assembly member Angela McKnight (Jersey City), who was first elected in 2015, and MP William Sampson (D-Bayon), who was unexpectedly selected for a nomination from the Democratic Party last year after Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis toppled now-former MP Nicolas Chiarovolotti (D-Bayonne).
This leaves a district with many Spanish languages without any Latin American representation, which Venezuelan-born Santos and his hometown with many Hispanics may find unreasonable, although Santos himself did not mention race in his discussion of the 31st district delegation.
However, Santos stressed his strong rejection of the new map in general, which separates Harrison and East Newark from Kearney (placing them in the Essex County area) and which two-room State Senator Nicholas Saka (D-North Bergen) with Brian Stack (D-Union City) in the 33rd constituency.
“I do not think so [the redistricting commission] was transparent, ”Santos said. “They worked behind closed doors and I don’t think it’s good for the process. And the result is what we see now in Hudson County, dividing West Goodson … and forcing the two incumbents to be in the same district. “
Mathematically, the growth of Hudson County and persistence from Jersey City politicians that the city will not be divided into three sides, meant there is there had to be major changes on an existing map in some places. But while Santos may be disappointed, West Hudson has lost his cohesion, the new card means he may have a strong voice in a whole new area.