Since the current congressional map was approved in 2012, Democrats have outpaced Republicans in new voter gains in eleven of the twelve New Jersey House districts.
The map was drawn to give each party six Congressman after New Jersey lost a House seat following the 2010 census. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) beat Rep. Steve Rothman (D-Englewood) in an incumbent-on-incumbent Democratic primary. In 2016, Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage) was ousted by Democrat Josh Gottheimer, giving Democrats a 7-5 edge in the state delegation.
Shifting voter registration numbers and the national political climate have put four – maybe all five – of the Republican seats in play this fall.
Republicans had a voter registration edge of 24,176 in Rodney Frelinghuysen’s 11th district seat when the map was drawn six years ago. Now the GOP edge is down to 9,581.
In the 7th district, where Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) is seeking a sixth term, the original Republican advantage of 29,997 is now down to 10,812.
Democrats have increased their voter registration majorities in two other districts: from 7,669 to 15,055 in Frank LoBiondo’s district 2; and 8,863 to 12,053 in district 3, where Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River) wants a third term.
In Gottheimer’s district, Republicans drew the map with a 13,085 voter registration advantage; it’s now flipped to a 1,585 advantage for the Democrats.
The only district where Republicans are gaining is in the 4th, where Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) is seeking re-election to a seat he’s held since 1980. The district has gained 17,571 new Republicans since 2012.