Pushed strongly by tiebreaker Philip Carchman, Democrats and Republicans are close to finalizing a deal map that would pit two pairs of incumbents into possible Democratic primaries and give Republicans a path, albeit a challenging one, to a majority in the legislature, the New Jersey Globe has learned.
That could put a final map up for a vote as early as Friday, as long as the current framework remains in place and that the accord doesn’t fall apart.
Carchman pushed both sides late this afternoon toward a compromise allow the two parties to control their own destiny rather, suggesting that he was ready to take a machete to both maps if they were unable to reach a two-party agreement. Democrats and Republicans are still meeting tonight at their hotel in Plainsboro.
The deal will not include former State Sen. Thomas Kean, Jr., who will vote no.
“There should have been more time to negotiate for a fairer map,” Kean said.
Under the structure of a map now in the process of being finalized, Richard Codey (D-Roseland) and Nia Gill (D-Montclair) would be paired in the same district, as would Nicholas Sacco (D-North Bergen) and Brian Stack (D-Union City).
That would create two new Senate seats in Essex and Hudson, possibly for two State Assembly members, Britnee Timberlake (D-East Orange) and Raj Mukherji (D-Jersey City).
The new map would be good news for South Jersey Republicans. The 2nd district picks up Galloway, and the 8th becomes more Republican. But West Deptford, the hometown of former Senate President Steve Sweeney, remains in the 3rd district.
If State Sen. Edward Durr (R-Swedesboro), Vincent Polistina (R-Egg Harbor Township) and Michael Testa, Jr. (R-Vineland) can get re-elected – there’s nothing in the new map being considered right now that would necessarily block that – Republicans would hold on to their current block of sixteen Senate seats.
Under the right circumstances – a tough 2023 New Jersey mid-term for Gov. Phil Murphy and President Joe Biden – there are five more seats that could be in play.
The 4th district, where State Sen. Fred Madden (D-Washington) was re-elected with 54% last year, becomes more competitive and would give Republicans a shot at flipping the district next year.
The Monmouth-based 11th district, currently represented by Democratic State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) and Republican Assemblywomen Marilyn Piperno (R-Colts Neck) and Kim Eulner (R-Shrewsbury) remains hugely competitive for 2023, although the new plan is slightly better for Demcorats than Republicans.
The commission has been going back-and-forth on the final boundaries of the 16th district, which is expected to become slightly more competitive next year than it was last year. This is the district where Democrat Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) won an open Senate seat following the retirement of Republican Christopher Bateman (R-Branchburg).
Republicans could compete in the Bergen-based 38th district — which becomes just one-half of once-percent more Democratic, and the 14th district, which includes parts of Mercer and Middlesex counties.
Maps floated last week, including proposals to put State Sens. Troy Singleton (D-Delran) and Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton), Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) and Zwicker, and Robert Smith (D-Piscataway) and Patrick Diegnan (D-South Plainfield) in to the same districts have now been abandoned. So are maps that would remove two GOP assemblymen, Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) and Christian Barranco (R-Jefferson), from the 26th.
A Democratic proposal also dropped a plan to split Jersey City into three districts.