By Art Gallagher
The New Jersey Legislative Reapportionment Commission has until April 3rd to produce a new map of legislative districts. Candidates for State Senate and Assembly from the major parties will have to submit their nominating petitions during the week of April 11th, unless there is legislation that changes the date of the petition submission and/or the primary.
Patrick Murray of the Monmouth University Polling Institute has produced two maps for columns he has written at Politickernj. Both his “Constitutional” map, which Murray concedes is only almost constitutional as conflicting standards make a purely constitutional map impossible, and his “Competitive” map would create conflicts among Monmouth County incumbent legislators based upon their residency.
Murray’s “constitutional map” (town list here) would put Assemblymen Declan O’Scanlon (Little Silver) and Dave Rible in the 11th district, based upon their respective residencies, and move Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini (Ocean Township) into the 9th where there would be a seat available as Murray’s constitutional map moves Assembly incumbents Brain Rumpf and Diane Grove into the 2nd district.
Senators Jennifer Beck and Joe Kyrillos would be competing for the Senate seat in the 13th. Robert Singer would become the incumbent Senator in the 12th district (Beck’s seat) and there would be an Assembly vacancy in 12. The 12th vacancy would presumably be filled by a resident of Colts Neck, Farmingdale, Howell, Jackson or Lakewood. Lakewood would be the largest town in the district by population.
Murray’s “competitive” map (town list), like his “constitutional” map also puts Red Bank and Middletown in the 13th district, pitting Beck and Kyrillos against each other. The competitive map moves Old Bridge out of the 13th into a newly constituted 40th district comprised of Middlesex County towns. This moves Sam Thomspon (Old Bridge) into a more competitive district. Declan O’Scanlon (Little Silver) would be an incumbent in the new 13th.
Caroline Casagrande (Colts Neck) in the only incumbent in Murray’s competitive 12th. Casagrande could step up and seek the Senate seat, creating two Assembly vacancies. Look for Freeholder Director Rob Clifton (Matawan) to seek a seat in the legislature in this scenario. Freeholder Lillian Burry (Colts Neck) could be a contender too. On the Democratic side, Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornick would be a likely contender for a vacant seat. A Casagrande vs. Hornick battle for Senate could be a classic race.
All incumbents are safe in Murray’s competitive 11th.
One source close to the redistricting process told me that Murray’s maps are a “nice rainy day read,” and that neither the Democrats or Republicans proposed maps are close to his scenarios. I guess that makes this piece a nice rainy day read too.
There will be a great deal of uncertainty and speculation until the actual new map is released. And there is uncertain information about how incumbent conflicts based upon residency would be handled. One GOP leader told me that “he thought” that someone could run for a seat in a district that they don’t live in, but would have to move into the district within one year if they won. Another official said there in no residency requirement in the State Constitution and that statutes governing residency could be easily changed after the new map is released.
Whatever happens there will be a lot of moving and shaking during the first couple of weeks in April, and a lot of hair pulling until then.