Two-term Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) faces a difficult bid for re-election in New Jersey’s 7th district under maps proposed by both sides of the New Jersey Congressional Redistricting Commission, but three other Democratic incumbents could still face tough races if the tiebreaker, former Supreme Court Justice John E. Wallace, Jr., decides to cast his vote for the Republican map when the panel meets at 10:30 AM.
The New Jersey Globe has obtained both of the proposed maps submitted to Wallace, who is expected to share them with the six Democrats and six Republicans on the commission prior to the start of the meeting.
* Neither map is especially good for Malinowski, who ousted a five-term Republican in the 2018 wave election. Even the Democratic plan gives Malinowski all of Warren County and nine Sussex towns while taking away the solid blue towns of Millburn, Dover, and Montgomery. Gov. Phil Murphy lost the 7th in both maps by double-digits.
* Democrats propose putting two incumbents in the same district by moving the hometown of 21-term Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) into the 3rd district along with Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown), but the new 4th becomes even more solidly Republican and includes most of the municipalities Smith has represented for decades. Their proposed Kim district sheds all of Ocean County and goes into parts of Mercer and western Monmouth County.
* The GOP map keeps heavily Republican Ocean County towns in Kim’s 3rd district.
* Democrats try to bolster Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) by adding the Democratic strongholds of Englewood and Fort Lee.
* In the 11th district, Republicans want Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) to take on all of Sussex County. Democrats want to give her the heavy blue towns on Millburn, Maplewood and South Orange.
* The Democratic map takes a pass on Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis), who was elected as a Democrat in 2018 put later switched parties and won as a Republican in 2020. Democrats propose bolstering Van Drew in order to shore up Kim. Republicans protect Van Drew.
* Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark) would represent Essex Fells and Cranford.
Here’s a summary of what the two maps are looking to do:
The Democratic map removes all of Ocean County from Kim’s district and creates one that includes all of Burlington, except for Palmyra and Maple Shade, and parts of Mercer and Monmouth. Kim would add all of Hamilton, Lawrence, East Windsor, Hightstown, and Robbinsville in Mercer, and Allentown, Englishtown, Freehold Borough, Holmdel, Manalapan, Marlboro, Millstone, Roosevelt, Upper Freehold, and parts of Marlboro and Freehold Township.
Republicans are proposing to keep most the current district intact, except for adding the portion of Hamilton that is South of I-195, Plumsted, Manchester, Lakehurst and Jackson in Ocean, and Maple Shade in the 3rd. A small part of Brick would go into the 4th and Lacey and Barnegat would shift to the 4th.
Democrats are proposing the addition of eight Bergen County towns: Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Cresskill, Fort Lee, Leonia, Palisades Park, Ridgefield Park and Tenafly to Gottheimer’s districts, as well as the entirety of Teaneck, including the portions currently in the 9th. But the 5th will also lose Franklin Lakes, Lodi, Oakland, Rochelle Park and part of Maywood. Gottheimer’s district would no longer include any Warren County municipalities and the deletion of six Sussex towns –Andover Borough, Fredon, Green, Stillwater and Walpack. All of those would shift to the 7th. The 5th would keep West Milford and add Bloomindale and Wanaque in Passaic, but Ringwood would be dropped.
The Republicans are seeking a 5th district that drops all of Warren and Sussex from Gottheimer’s district, but adds eight towns in Passaic – Little Falls, Hawthorne, North Haledon, Pompton Lakes, Totowa, Wanaque, Woodland Park and Wayne. The GOP also wants to add Elmwood park, Garfield, Hasbrouck Heights in Bergen.
Under the Democratic plan, Malinowski’s new district would pick up all of Warren County, and Mendham Borough and part of Mendham Township in Morris. Scotch Plains, which had been split with the 12th, would sit entirely in the 7th, along with the addition of Fanwood and Rahway and part of Linden. Bridgewater and Hillsborough would be split between the 7th and 12th districts. The 7th adds nine towns in Sussex: Andover Township, Byram, Fredon, Green, Hopatcong, Ogdensburg, Sparta, Stillwater and Walpack. Millburn in Essex and Dover in Morris would shift to the 11th, Cranford, Garwood, Kenilworth and the entirety of Union Township in Union would go in the 10th, and Montgomery, North Plainfield, Rocky Hill in Somerset would go to the 12th.
The Republican map remains close to what it is now, but drops Union Township, Millburn and Montgomery and Wharton, adds the rest of Warren County, and Chatham Township, Madison, Mendham Borough and Mendham Township in Morris County. Scotch Plains, which was partly in the 12th, would be completely out of the 7th.
The Democratic plan has Sherrill gaining Belleville, Glen Ridge, Maplewood, Millburn, and South Orange in Essex, and Dover in Morris. Caldwell, Essex Fells, Verona, and all of West Orange would move to the 10th district, and her four Sussex County municipalities would shift to the 5th and 7th districts. Sherill would also shed Bloomingdale, North Haledon, Pompton Lakes and part of Wayne. Montclair remains split between the 10th and 11th.
Under the Republican plan, all of Sussex County would be in the 11th. The district adds Millburn, keeps much of West Orange, would include all of Bloomfield and part of Belleville. The Passaic County portion of the district would be dropped entirely, and Chatham Township and Madison in Morris County would be moved to the 7th. Most of Montclair would be in the 10th.
NJ GOP HOUSE MAP 1