You really had to enjoy the literary creativity of LeRoy Jones, the chair of the state Democratic Committee.
In dumping Steve Sweeney from the group revising the state’s 40 legislative districts, a release from Jones spoke of “careful consideration,” “much deliberation,” “spirit” and “reflection.”
Why couldn’t he just say he was removing Sweeney because he lost reelection? It’s not as if Sweeney would have been ousted if he was still the Senate President.
Of course, this isn’t the first, nor will it be the last, time flowery language is used to mask pure political intent.
What’s clear is that Jones’ move has cheered those on the Democratic left, and probably Phil Murphy, although he would never say so publicly.
The New Jersey Working Families Alliance quickly sent out a release, praising what Jones did. It said that the decision “places the work of drawing new legislative maps in the hands of a reliable partner for Democrats at a critical time in our nation’s history.”
Jones’ action also makes tonight’s virtual meeting of what officially is called the New Jersey Apportionment Commission a bit more interesting.
That meeting comes amid a call from various public interest organizations for the commission to make draft maps public. These would be the maps proposed by Democrats and Republicans.
As is easy to recall, a similar commission that remapped the state’s 12 House districts last month did not officially make the competing maps public in advance. In fact, even after the Democratic map was selected, it took some time for the commission to put the detailed map online.
One hopes the apportionment commission will do a better job with the state map. This should not be a secret.
These are two different panels with two distinct obligations – one federal and one state.
But nobody involved in public life exists in a cocoon. All involved with the legislative remapping have to know that federal redistricting ended with tiebreaker John Wallace saying he selected the Democratic map because the GOP map was picked 10 years ago.
State Republicans quickly appealed to the state Supreme Court, which asked Wallace to offer a more complete explanation. He did precisely that, but the high court is still considering the GOP’s main point that the Wallace-picked map should be discarded.
As for the new legislative map, the deciding vote is Philip Carchman.
It seems a pretty good bet that when he makes his decision, he’ll be a bit more loquacious than Wallace was.