Democrats gain edge from New Jersey Redistricting Commission-approved maps

The New Jersey Redistricting Commission on Wednesday approved new congressional maps for the next decade that give the Democratic Party clear advantages in several races, but that could hurt Rep. Tom Malinowski’s (D) hopes for reeelction.

The approved map, which was green-lighted over another proposal pitched by Republicans, will likely create a delegation that is made up of nine Democrats and three Republicans, compared to the 10 Democrats and 2 Republicans now representing the state in the U.S. House.

New Jersey’s redistricting panel is made up of six Democratic appointees, six Republican appointees and a final member who is selected by the state Supreme Court and designed to act as a tiebreaker. The map passed by a 7-6 vote Wednesday, with the Supreme Court appointee, John Wallace Jr., casting the tie-breaking vote.

Wallace Jr., a former state Supreme Court justice, had determined that the maps put forward by Democrats and Republicans both were constitutional and complied with the Voting Rights Act, though he conceded that he ultimately supported Democrats’ map in part because Republicans drew the last maps in 2011, an announcement that infuriated Republicans.

“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. “Democrats should have the opportunity to have their map used in the next redistricting cycle.”

Democratic Reps. Josh Gottheimer, Andy Kim and Mikie Sherrill shed conservative areas of their swing districts and gained more liberal ones, making their seats safer for Democrats. 

However, to offset that, Malinowski’s district took on more Republican-leaning areas. Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell also traded parts of Bergen County to Gottheimer, though he did not lose enough liberal areas to make him particularly vulnerable.

Republican state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., who narrowly lost to Malinowski in 2020, is running again and will have significantly improved chances for victory given the new district lines and a scandal over stock trades that hit Malinowski earlier this year. 

Malinowski’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill regarding the new maps.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R) saw his district become slightly more conservative.

Van Drew, who was elected in the 2018 blue wave as a Democrat, defected to Republicans in 2019, instantly making him a top target by disgruntled members of his former party.

Tags Bill Pascrell Jeff Van Drew Josh Gottheimer Mikie Sherrill New Jersey Redistricting in the United States Redistricting maps Tom Malinowski

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