The South has a strategic redistricting play, and it does not involve the political resuscitation of Steve Sweeney on the shores of the 2nd Congressional District, insisted an insider with professed knowledge of ongoing apportionment conversations.
In response to a question yesterday posed by InsiderNJ, Democratic State Party Chairman LeRoy Jones did not dismiss the idea of Sweeney trying to dismantle Democratic party turncoat U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-2).
He said he would like to see it, though did not prioritize it necessarily, as the north appears intent on helping incumbent U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill and U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer secure better districts.
The south, for its part, wants to protect incumbent U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3), and to that end, would actually look to strip some of the more Republican towns in Kim’s district and solder them to Van Drew. The end result would not only empower the currently battleground-bound Kim but enhance – not diminish Van Drew.
The South Jersey-connected source groaned over the Sweeney in CD-2 battle garb scenario, suggesting that it perhaps accomplishes little more than a devious desired North Jersey political effect of making Sweeney look inconsequential short of driving his chariot into Van Drew.
He won’t do it, insiders know that, and so his refusal to do so will sink him even further in the eyes of gleeful Phil Murphy allies; sad, the source insisted, when the South does not intend to make the play suggested, but in fact will undertake an opposite course: again, strengthening Van Drew instead of entangling him, for the sake of augmenting Kim.
Regardless of the backroom plays and moves on all sides, one observation does not change in the North and South Jersey spheres of influence: the particular vulnerability of incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-7), who stands to lose Democratic dominant Millburn to strengthen Sherrill. That said, Democrats are prepared to give Sherrill the 4th Ward of Montclair (now in U.S. Rep. Donald Payne’s district) to augment the congresswoman without sacrificing Malinowski.