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Former Gov. Richard J. Codey. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Codey pens objection to new configuration of 27th district

Essex senator argues that ditching Morris County towns does a disservice to county residents

By Joey Fox, February 09 2022 7:26 pm

State Sen. and former Gov. Richard Codey (D-Roseland) released written testimony today expressing his disapproval of the newly proposed 27th legislative district, which sheds the current district’s Morris County portions and incorporates Irvington and Hillside on both parties’ proposed maps. 

“Under the proposed maps, all the Morris County municipalities would be removed from the 27th,” Codey wrote. “I believe this would be a loss not only for the voters in these areas, but also across the county. In the current configuration, my district mates and I are the only Democratic representatives in a county where Democratic registration has grown significantly over the course of the last decade.”

Codey added that the district could be redrawn to include other western Essex County towns like Cedar Grove, Verona, and the Caldwells, which are currently spread across the 26th and 40th legislative districts. Doing so would “bring together a community of interest, that being western Essex,” Codey wrote.

Notably, the towns that Codey advocates for including are all majority-white, much like the current 27th district, while Irvington and Hillside are both majority-Black and would give the district a Black plurality.

Even in a majority-minority district, Codey likely would not have to worry about his own re-election; after all, the district he was first elected to in 1973 included Black-majority towns like East Orange. But Assemblyman John McKeon (D-West Orange), who is white, would no longer be the heir apparent for the Senate if Codey retires, and Irvington Democrats might begin to agitate for a seat of their own in the legislature.

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