Malinowski Redistricting Allies Rush to His Aid

CD7, Kean and Malinowski.

The gossip says CD-7 is about to change.

Good-bye Millburn and hello to a new district more favorable to Republicans, namely Tom Kean Jr.

Not so fast, a number of CD-7 residents told the state’s redistricting commission Monday night. Leave CD-7, which ranges over parts of Somerset, Hunterdon, Union, Essex, Morris and Warren counties, alone.

One resident noted that in the last two congressional election cycles, voters in what had been a solid GOP district backed Democrat Tom Malinowski.

So, why should their sentiments be cast aside to help a “legacy politician?”  That was a not too subtle reference to Kean, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress last year and is ready to do it again in 2022.

Howard Teichman, the chair of the Bridgewater Democratic Committee, said the voters’ recent preference should not be ignored. He added that drawing a district favorable to Kean as part of some sort of deal would be “quite frankly, absurd.”

The problem, as Teichman surely knows, is that deal making is essentially what the commission does.

But those urging to keep CD-7 as is were not dissuaded.

District resident Jordana Horn joined others in pointing out that Millburn is part of the Rahway River watershed. She said it would be problematic to separate Millburn from other district towns along the river. Flood control is a regional challenge and the region must be maintained. Or at least that’s how the argument went.

CD-11, which now covers parts of Essex, Passaic, Morris and Sussex counties, is linked to CD-7, simply because it can be impacted by any changes to the Seventh.

Aside from that, one possible change would be putting all of Montclair into CD-11. Part of the city now lies in CD-10.

This is of particular concern to Rep. Mikie Sherrill, who lives in the CD-10 side of town.

She rented a home in the CD-11 part of the district when she first ran for election in 2018.

Members of Congress do not have to live in the district they represent, but not doing so certainly can be a political liability. To that end, Sherrill got a break in 2020 when her Republican challenger, Rosemary Becchi, didn’t live in CD-11 either. She lives in Short Hills in CD-7.

A representative of NJ11th For Change, a public interest group instrumental in Sherrill’s initial election, urged the commission to incorporate all of Montclair in CD-11.

However, two other speakers said things should stay as is, contending that the many minority residents of CD-10 have more in common with that district, which is represented by Donald Payne Jr. of Newark, than they do with the wealthier residents on the other side of Montclair.

That wasn’t the only time race was mentioned in the Zoom-meeting.

Peter Rosario, who heads a Latinx non-profit in Newark, said the commission can’t ignore Census data that shows an increasing minority population. Many other speakers made similar comments.

Rosario, in fact, pushed for half of the state’s 12 congressional districts to be majority-minority districts.

He said the commission can either “hold back the tide,” or in line with changing trends, celebrate the state’s diversity.

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3 responses to “Malinowski Redistricting Allies Rush to His Aid”

  1. Except I did not use the word “deal.” What I actually said was “Given the relative state of balance which the residents of Bridgewater and Somerset County currently enjoy, the idea of the 7th District being redrawn to ensure a Republican victory is quite frankly absurd. This Commission should reject gerrymandering and draw the map to fairly reflect the will of the voters in the state.”

    • Hello Howard:
      This is Fred Snowflack. Please note that the word, deal, was not in quotes, so I do not think it suggests that you said it ..

  2. Not to belabor, but we both know a political deal was what you were referencing … In any event, thanks for reading, Fred

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