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The 12th legislative district as initially submitted by Republicans on the New Jersey Legislative Apportionment Commission in February 2022. (Photo: New Jersey Apportionment Commission).

Initial GOP map put Thompson in a tough race

Republicans were willing to put 87-year-old senator in a difficult race in exchange for a shot at two other seats

By David Wildstein, February 13 2023 11:06 am

The Kabuki mind trick map initially submitted by Republicans would have given State Sen. Sam Thompson a shot at winning re-election as a Democrat, although Democrats would have been unlikely to take the 87-year-old conservative Republican under the map initially known as “Parkway.”

Just 53 weeks ago, Republicans were willing to risk Thompson’s safe seat, trading it for a chance to take back the Somerset-based 16th district and turn the next-door 14th into a swing district that included Jackson and Plumsted.

Under the Republican proposal, the Old Bridge-based 12th would have dropped Jackson and Plumsted in Ocean County and New Hanover, North Hanover, and Chesterfield in Burlington and instead added East Brunswick, Monroe, Cranbury, Milltown, Jamesburg, Spotswood, Helmetta, and South River in Middlesex.   Republicans Thompson and Assemblyman Rob Clifton (R-Matawan) would have been in the new competitive district, along with Democratic Assemblyman Sterley Stanley (D-East Brunswick).

The initial Democratic submission – dubbed “Turnpike” after the Apportionment Commission made an unsuccessful bid to hide the authorship of each map – kept the 12th close to what it is now.

Neither side was serious about their maps, which were turned in as a starting point at the request of the court-appointed tiebreaker, former Judge Philip Carchman.

Had the GOP map been accepted, it’s possible that Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry would not have challenged an incumbent in a district that was winnable for the Democrat.  It’s also probable that Democrats would not have supported a conservative pro-life, pro-gun conservative Republican who backed Donald Trump twice as their candidate.

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