Tea party group sues over new N.J. legislative map

    A tea party group has filed a suit challenging the constitutionality of the New Jersey legislative district map approved earlier this month.

    The Bayshore Tea Party said no one on the apportionment commission represented unaffiliated voters. The suit claims counties were split more times than necessary in drawing the map to favor Democrats.

    Thirty-eight plaintiffs from around the state are involved in the civil suit. Attorney Russ Cote said the map was gerrymandered to favor Democrats and is, therefore,  unconstitutional.

    “The counties are over-split too many times,” Cote said. “The population deviation between the north and south parts of the state is too high according to federal law, and the two largest municipalities according to New Jersey’s Supreme Court precedent are under-split.”

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    Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray said while the lawsuit raises some interesting issues, getting a new map won’t be easy.

    “Some of the things that the tea party is arguing for in this lawsuit are things that have never been tested in court before. In that instance it’s worth having a trial because they deserve a hearing,” said Murray. “But it also makes it an uphill battle because there’s no precedent to overturn the map.”

    Murray said every previous challenge in years past has been unsuccessful.

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