N.J. set to begin redrawing congressional districts

The 13-member commission that will redraw New Jersey’s congressional districts has started work.

Because the population in other parts of the country is growing faster than New Jersey, the Garden State will lose one of its 13 seats in Congress.

Monmouth University political analyst Patrick Murray says it’s hard to tell which lawmaker won’t be back.

“Maybe there’s a retirement. Maybe there is a primary battle,” Murray said. “We don’t know, but certainly the Democrats would like to put two Republicans in the same district, and the Republicans would like to do the same to the Democrats.”

The tie-breaking member of the redistricting commission is Rutgers law school dean and former state Attorney General John Farmer.

“The districts have to be equal in size and that’s going to drive the discussion because the population has shifted,” Farmer said. “Traditionally, there are factors such as communities of interest and other demographic considerations that come into play, but I’m not going to prejudge those.”

Farmer said the first of three planned public hearings is set for Sept. 22 at Rutgers Camden. Details for the other two are still being worked out.

The map must be completed by Jan. 17, but Farmer said he’d like to have it finished by Christmas.

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