Home>Congress>Pelosi focused on keeping NJ’s Democratic House seats, Murphy says

Left to right: Former New Jersey Democratic State Chairman John Currie, First Lady Tammy Murphy, Gov. Phil Murphy, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Senator Cory Booker and Somerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaffer. (Photo: Courtesy of Phil Murphy)

Pelosi focused on keeping NJ’s Democratic House seats, Murphy says

Redistricting not a focus yet, but governor expects that to change

By Nikita Biryukov, July 12 2021 3:09 pm

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has her eye on New Jersey’s congressional delegation and the lines of its districts, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.

“There’s an obvious amount of focus from her and there has been since I’ve been in this position and she and I go back and forth on this a lot,” Murphy said. “I would suspect that we’ll have even more specific discussions, but she has been laser focused on keeping our margins in New Jersey and has been really a very helpful ally at every step of the way.”

New Jersey’s House delegation has grown ever-more Democratic over the past five years. In 2016, Republicans and Democrats each held six of the state’s seats in the lower chamber. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) was the first to flip one of those districts, ousting Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage) in the fifth.

But the Democrats’ real success came during the Trump midterms, when Democrats picked up four additional seats, winnowing the Republican cohort down to just one member, Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton).

Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) was elected as a Democrat but joined the Republican party in December 2019, bringing the Republican share of seats up to two.

That’s likely to draw eyes from the Congressional Redistricting Commission’s Republican members, who are expected to argue that the state’s voters deserve fewer heavily Democratic districts.

In no particular order, the list of potential targets includes districts represented by Reps. Gottheimer, Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair), Andy Kim (D-Bordentown) and Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes).

The fight over congressional district lines, like conversations on redistricting between the governor and speaker, hasn’t started in earnest, but that’s only a matter of time.

“We’ve spoken over time about the importance as a general matter — not necessarily the specifics of redistricting — but the speaker and I have spoken over time about the importance of holding onto our House seats,” Murphy said.

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