For Sacco, Others, the Infuriating Bipartisan Endzone Dance of Philip Carchman


After party leaders Al Barlas (Republican) and LeRoy Jones (Democratic) finished swapping grandiose compliments, Phillip Carchman got to the point.

Which was that the new legislative map was adopted with the future in mind.

“We’re adopting a map for the next decade,” Carchman said, adding that it’s not perfect, but no map could be perfect.

He was the tie-breaking chair of the 11-member Apportionment Commission, but with both parties agreeing, there was no need for a tie-breaking vote.  That gave Carchman, a retired judge, a splendid opportunity to join the party commission chairs in celebrating a map produced by bipartisan consensus.

The cheers, however, probably didn’t go all that far.

Certainly not to Essex County where Democratic Senators Dick Codey, a one-time governor no less, and Nia Gill are in the same district.

Ditto for Hudson County heavyweights Nick Sacco and Brian Stack. Both are also mayors.

The prospect of a  primary battle between Sacco of North Bergen and Stack, his counterpart on the other side of “the Boulevard” in Union City, doesn’t sit well with Tom DeGise, the county executive and the father of the county’s Democratic chair, Amy DeGise. A Sacco ally, the elder DeGise urged the commission to delay the vote until next week, presumably to give political honchos more time to work out a more palatable deal.

The commission ignored the request, saying nothing about it, at least publicly.

Jones made mention of the looming intra-party battles to come when he talked about “long time and well respected” senators being put in the same district.

But he also said that Democrats did the best they could in devising the map.

In the end, there were two “no ” votes – Democrat Cosmo Cirillo and Republican Tom Kean Jr., who is a congressional candidate in CD-7. Neither explained their vote.

It’s understandable that commission leaders are going to wax poetic about historic bipartisanship, the creation of more minority-influenced districts and a map for the next 10 years.

That latter point is also the problem.

Politicians don’t think about the next 10 years.

They think about the next election.

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