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In New Jersey Redistricting A Bi-Partisan Panel Makes Sure Both Parties Get Their Beaks Wet

Right now New Jersey has 11 Democrats and 2 Republicans in Congress. After former Supreme Court Justice John Wallace acted as the tie-breaking vote, the 13 member bipartisan redistricting commission, 6 Dems, 6 Republicans and Wallace, chose the Democratic-proposed map-- which strengthens the positions of Democratic incumbents Andy Kim, Mikie Sherrill and Josh Gottheimer in 3 swing districts-- and will likely give the Republicans a third seat at the expense of Tom Malinowski. Legacy Republican Tom Kean, Jr. has a pretty good shot of replacing Malinowski in Congress.

The pro-Democratic big changes can be looked at through a lease of how well Biden did under the old boundaries and how well he would have done under the new boundaries.

  • NJ-03 (Andy Kim)- Trump +0.2 to Biden +14

  • NJ-05 (Josh Gottheimer)- Biden +5 to Biden +12

  • NJ-11 (Mikie Sherrill)- Biden +7 to Biden +17

Gottheimer is rewarded for all his perfidy and his lousy voting record in Congress by being given solid blue towns Fort Lee, Tenafly, Engelwood and the part of Teaneck that was in the Bill Pascrell's district. Sherrill gets Millburn, Maplewood and South Orange, all Democratic towns.

Meanwhile, Malinowski's district, goes from a Biden +10 to a Biden +4. And keep in mind that Malinowski only beat Tom Kean last year, a favorable Democratic year, by one lousy point-- 219,629 (50.6%) to 214,318 (49.4%). And that was before Malinowski, in trouble with the House Ethics Committee, was exposed for violating the STOCK Act and probably also engaged in insider trading, buying and selling over half a million dollars in individual stocks based on non-public information about the then-little known COVID pandemic. This year Gov. Phil Murphy lost the new 7th by double-digits. It shoves Warren County, a red hellhole into the district and takes away blue towns like Montgomery, Dover and Milburn.

Malinowski is a member-- along with Sherrill and Gottheimer-- of the Wall Street owned New Dems, Congress' most egregiously corrupt caucus and his ProgressivePunch score is a "C," not as putrid as the "F" scores racked up by fellow Garden Staters Donald Norcross, Mikie Sherrill, Josh Gottheimer, Chris Smith (R) or Jeff Van Drew (R).

Van Drew, a former Blue Dog who flipped to the GOP after being elected, and who was also seen as vulnerable, was shored up by the new districts, going from a district with a 3 point Trump lead to one with a 5 point Trump lead, as he gets much of red southern Ocean County from Andy Kim, with Kim adding blue areas of western Monmouth County plus blue slivers of Mercer and Burlington counties. Republican Chris Smith's already safely red district has become even safer, a way for Democrats to dump Republican voters where they won't jeopardize vulnerable Democrats, pleasing Smith, but infuriating Republican officials.

This afternoon, Politico reported that "Just before the vote on Thursday morning at the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, the tiebreaker, John Wallace Jr., former state Supreme Court justice and registered Democrat, said the Democratic and Republican proposals all met constitutional standards, complied with the Voting Rights Act and took most of his priorities into account, like making districts as compact as possible. The only advantage the Democrats’ map had, Wallace said, was 'partisan fairness.' However, Wallace said he didn’t base his decision on that factor. 'In the end, I decided to vote with the Democratic map simply because in the last redistricting, the map was drawn by Republicans,' Wallace said, an admission that shocked some New Jersey political insiders. 'Democrats should have the opportunity to have their map used in the next redistricting cycle.'

Wallace was one of several Democratic recommendations to the state Supreme Court, which selected him after Chief Justice Stuart Rabner failed to get the two parties to agree on a tie-breaker.
The Republicans’ redistricting chair, Doug Steinhardt, blasted Wallace, saying he acted from the beginning as a “seventh Democrat” on the commission, but poured more scorn on one of his advisers, Sam Wang, a neuroscience professor who leads the Princeton Gerrymandering Project.
Steinhardt pointed to a 2018 tweet in which Wang said “it seems likely that between one-third and one-half of current Trump supporters meet a reasonable definition of racist” and that “the rest are okay with racists in their coalition.”

Sometimes, the truth hurts. Republicans do tend to be racists and to tolerate racism in their party. At least Wang didn't mention how, after World War II the Dulles brothers imported Eastern European Nazis to New Jersey to make the state more Republican and to balance out all the Jewish voters.

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