New Jersey’s congressional redistricting commission has approved a new map that deals with the loss of one House seat.
Over the objections of Democrats, commission chairman John Farmer Jr. went along with a Republican map that combines two North Jersey districts where Republicans will have a 4 percentage point edge in voter registration.
There will also be changes in the 3rd District in Central and South Jersey.
The map removes Cherry Hill and adds Brick Township to the district that’s represented by Republican Congressman Jon Runyan.
The commission’s chairman says the change puts Runyan more at risk for re-election, but former Assembly speaker Joe Roberts, who led the Democrats’ team on the redistricting commission, disagrees.
“The makeup of District 3 under the map that was adopted results in a district that Gov. Christie would have won by 21 points,” Roberts said. “No one can suggest that that’s a competitive district for a Democrat.”
There are now seven Democrats and five Republicans in the New Jersey congressional delegation.
The new map has the potential to change that, according to Patrick Murray, Monmouth University political analyst.
“There are some good reasons for having a six-six split. The number of times that Congress has changed control in terms of the party that controls the House of Representatives has been incredible over the past few years so why not have six in each party?” Murray said. “That ups your chances of having somebody who’s in leadership or in a position of influence.”
New Jersey is losing one of its congressional seats because of population shifts. The newly combined district pits conservative Republican Scott Garrett against liberal Democrat Steve Rothman.