Republican Redistricting Map Chosen By Committee

STATE — A new congressional district map that was drafted by Republicans and puts the hometowns of two incumbent congressmen in the same jurisdiction was adopted by the 13-member redistricting commission today.

New Jersey has one of the most gerrymandered congressional maps in the nation, according to Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

As usual, the final redistricting map benefits political insiders while denying citizens of much influence in the selection of congressional representation.

The map puts U.S. Reps. Scott Garrett (R-5th Dist.) and Steve Rothman (D-9th Dist.) in one North Jersey district, in which the Republican will have a four-percent partisan advantage.

The National Journal ranks Garrett as the 19th most conservative member of the House, and Rothman as the 83rd most liberal, based on their 2010 voting records. Both men also have similarly flush campaign war chests of more than $1.5 million.

The costs of the redistricting process are picked up by the state. Bill Quinn, a spokesman for the Department of Treasury, said it has budgeted $1.8 million to cover costs. Even though the 13 commissioners are unpaid, the money is needed to pay for attorneys, staff, computer software and other expenses.

New Jersey is losing a seat in the House because the state’s population did not grow fast enough to keep pace with faster growing states in the sun belt and other parts of the country. Texas, for instance, is gaining four seats while Florida is gaining two. By contrast, New York and Ohio are each losing two seats.

The other states losing a single seat are Louisiana, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

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