Gov. Phil Murphy is considering appointing his chief of staff, George Helmy, to the New Jersey Congressional Redistricting Commission, sources familiar with the governor’s thinking have told the New Jersey Globe.
Helmy served as state director for U.S. Senator Cory Booker before joining the Murphy administration in 2019. He is a former aide to U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg.
Each party gets six seats on the congressional redistricting panel. While the governor does not have any direct appointments, it is widely assumed that the two belonging to the Democratic State Chairman belong to Murphy, the titular head of the New Jersey Democratic Party.
Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin also have two appointments to the panel.
On the Republican side, GOP State Chairman Doug Steinhardt, Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr., and Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick each get two picks for the commission that draws congressional districts.
The new House districts must be drawn for the 2022 elections based on New Jersey’s 2020 U.S. Census totals.