Explainer: How Redistricting Can Shape Elections — and What Happens When It Does

Explainer: How Redistricting Can Shape Elections — and What Happens When It Does (via NJSpotlight)

What’s responsible for the extreme divide between Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and to a lesser extent, in Trenton? Some political observers believe part of the problem is the way we draw legislative and congressional districts. These days…

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Posted: December 17th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Elections, NJNewsCommons, Reapportionment, Redistricting | Tags: , , | 5 Comments »

The Return of Corzine Democrats…..and Whitman Republicans

Photo Credit: NJ.com

Governor Chris Christie has taken to the town hall stump declaring that the Corzine Democrats are back.

“In the last couple weeks, we’ve seen an ugly type of Democrat start to rear its head again,” Christie said during a town hall last week. “I think you thought you had slayed this type of Democrat in 2009 — that you had taken the wooden stake and out it through this type of democrats heart. But I am here to tell you today that I fear this type of Democrat has returned to the state legislature. You know what kind of Democrat I’m talking about: A Corzine Democrat.”

The governor will likely expand on the Corzine Democrats theme at his town hall meeting in Brick this afternoon, as he did last evening in his statement about the budget passed by the Democratic State Legislature yesterday:

“With today’s budget, Corzine Democrats reversed course and sent a loud and clear signal that they want to go back to the eight years prior to my administration when taxes and fees were raised every 25 days. After two years without raising taxes, the only way to feed the Corzine Democrats’ obsession is to hold tax relief hostage. I will not allow New Jersey to go back to the same failed policies that nearly put our state over a fiscal cliff. Tax relief for our hardworking families is long overdue and that is exactly what I will continue fighting for.”

But the budget the Democrats passed doesn’t raise taxes once every 25 days.  It doesn’t raise taxes any day.  It also doesn’t reduce income taxes as Christie’s budget proposed.  Nor does it reduce property taxes as the proposal that Senate President Steve Sweeney reneged on would have done.

The budget that the Democrats passed spends $400 million less than the budget Christie proposed.

Christie’s budget would have increased spending 8% with a phased in 10% income tax reduction.  It relies heavily on one shot gimmicks and increased borrowing.  Christie’s revenue projections, which the Democrats have acceptted, are based upon extremely optimistic assumptions that seem to have little grounding in reality. New Jersey’s economy would have to suddenly start growing faster than the rest of the country in order for Christie’s revenue projections to come close.   That sounds a lot like the fiscal cliff that the Whitman/DiFranceso/Bennett Republicans drove New Jersey over in the 1990’s until New Jersey voters kicked them out of power in 2003.

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Posted: June 26th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, New Jersey State Budget, Reapportionment, Stephen Sweeney | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

The New Congressional Map

The new congressional map can be viewed here.

Give it a minute to download.  It’s a large file.
A few local observations:

Republican Chris Smith will represent most of Monmouth County in the 4th district.

Democrat Rush Holt, 12th district, will no longer represent any of Monmouth County.

Democrat Frank Pallone’s 6thdistrict includes all of coastal Monmouth and Marlboro.  Middletown and Marlboro appear to be entirely in Pallone’s district.  Under the old map it was split between Pallone and Holt.

At first glance, the new 6th district looks to be more competive than the last.  Holt took all or part of Plainfield, a strongly Democratic town where Pallone dominated in 2010 by a huge margin.  Middletown is a large Republican strong hold. Marlboro usually votes Republican except on the municipal level where they have voted in the “LaHornicca” Democrats.

Posted: December 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Reapportionment, Redistricting | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Republicans Win The Congressional Map Battle

The New Jersey congressional delegation will likely be equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, 6 of each, after the next election, thanks to John Farmer, Dean of Rutgers Law School and the tie breaking member of the redistricting commission.  Farmer told the partisan members of the commission that he would vote for the Republicans’ map when the commission meets in at the Statehouse this morning, according to reports on Politickernj and NJ.com.

The new map will combine portions of the current 5th, 8th and 9th districts and pit incumbent congressmen Scott Garrett (R) and Steve Rothman (D) in a district that gives Republicans a 4% advantage based upon historical voting patterns.

According to the Politickernj story, the new map gives Congressman Chris Smith a larger portion of Monmouth County than his previous 4th district.  The district remains safely Republican for Smith, New Jersey’s longest serving congressman.

The 6th and 12th districts, represented by Frank Pallone and Rush Holt, respectively, remain safe for the Democratic incumbents, according to Politickernj.

The 7th district, represented by Republican Leonard Lance will now be a safer district for the incumbent.

Posted: December 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Reapportionment, Redistricting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Republicans Win The Congressional Map Battle

This is a compromise? So much for turning Trenton upside down

By Art Gallagher

Governor Chris Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney announced that they had reached a compromise over the nomination of Anne Patterson to the NJ Supreme Court.  

Christie nominated Patterson to the court one year ago today to fill the seek of John Wallace.  Wallace’s term was expiring but he had not reached the age of mandatory retirement.  Christie acted within his constitutional authority but broke with tradition by not reappointing Wallace.

Christie’s Democratic critics, in the legislature and the media, charged that the governor was interfering with the independence of the judiciary.   Christie countered that he was fulfilling his campaign promise to reshape the court which has a long history of overstepping its bounds and legislating from the bench, especially with the Abbott decision which mandates education spending and the Mt. Laurel decision which mandates the development of affordable housing.  These two judicial decisions are responsible for New Jersey’s highest in the nation property taxes.

Sweeney pledged that Patterson would not get a hearing in the Senate and that her nomination would not be voted on until Wallace, who hails from Sweeney’s home county of Gloucester, reached the age of retirement; March of 2012.  For a year the Wallace seat has filled by appellate Judge Edwin Stern who was appointed by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner as a temporary fill-in.

As a result of the “compromise” announced yesterday between Christie and Sweeney, the governor will withdraw Patterson’s nomination to Wallace seat and nominate her for the seat of retiring Justice Roberto Rivera-Sota.  Sweeney pledged a fair hearing for Patterson, and that timely hearings will be held for the Wallace seat and the seat of
Justice Virginia Long who reaches the mandatory retirement age in 2012.

I fail to see the “deal” here.  Where’s the compromise?  What did Christie get?   Christie could have withdrawn Patterson’s nomination for Wallace’s seat and nominated her for Rivera-Soto’s seat without consulting Sweeney.  Sweeney keeps the Wallace seat filled by Stern until March.  Was Sweeney threatening to hold up the nominations to replace Wallace and Long beyond their retirement dates?  Would Sweeney allow three seats on the seven member court to be held by temporary Justices appointed by Rabner? 

The other thing I don’t like about this deal capitulation, is that it is an indication that Christie assumes that Sweeney will be Senate President next year.  While that may be a realistic expectation given the new gerrymandered legislative map, it is disappointing to think that Christie, as the leader of the Republican party, has already given up on trying to win control of the Senate in the legislative election this November.

If Christie has given up on winning control of the Senate, who am I to argue that it is possible?

So much for turning Trenton upside down.

Christie has a Town Hall meeting in Manalapan this afternoon.

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, COAH, Education, Legislature, Property Taxes, Reapportionment, Redistricting, Reform Agenda, Stephen Sweeney | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Bayshore Tea Party Group, 38 Registered Voters, File Suit To Overturn New Legislative Map

Lawsuit challenges the validity of the New Jersey Legislative District Map



Red Bank, NJ – The Bayshore Tea Party group along with 38 Plaintiffs, representing all 21 counties in New Jersey, filed a civil action today against the Democrat members of the New Jersey Apportionment Commission, the 11th Member, Alan Rosenthal, Kim Guadagno, in her official capacity as Secretary of State of New Jersey, Paula Dow, Attorney General and Robert F. Giles, Director of the Division of Elections of the State of New Jersey, in Superior Court, Chancery Division, Ocean County.


The action claims the Legislative district map approved by the commission on April 3, 2011, is in violation of the Federal and New Jersey Constitutions. It is further stated that other federal and state laws were violated against the interests of the registered voters of New Jersey.


According to the preliminary statement filed today in court, the Commission Map in its current construction dilutes or nullifies the voice of the voters in the southern half of the state and in the state’s two largest municipalities, Newark and Jersey City. The lawsuit claims the Commission Map over-packed the southern half of the state causing an unconstitutional 18% deviation, which is 8% higher than the 10% deviation permitted by US Supreme Court precedent. Also, alleged in this suit are illegal splits of Newark and Jersey City from three districts each to two. These splits dilute the representation of these urban municipalities by reducing the number of elected legislators from 9 representatives to 6 in violation of New Jersey Supreme Court precedent.


Barbara Gonzalez, founder of Bayshore Tea Party Group and a Plaintiff in the suit said “After reviewing the commission map, I noticed several violations affecting the voter’s integrity. This lawsuit is crucial to protect the longstanding ‘one person, one vote’ principle. I hope our diligence will raise voter awareness of the voters of New Jersey to recognize the value of their vote.”

The 42 page complaint can be viewed and downloaded here.



Posted: April 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Bayshore Tea Party Group, Reapportionment, Redistricting | Tags: , , | 24 Comments »

Lucas Will Run In the New 12th

By Art Gallagher

Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas will be a candidate for the state legislature in the GOP primary from the new 12th district.

Lucas, who will make a formal announcement tomorrow, said he would defer to Assembly incumbents Sam Thompson and Ronald Dancer should either seek the vacant Senate seat.  In such case Lucas will run for Assembly.  Should neither incumbent Assemblyman run for Senate, Lucas will seek that seat.

Lucas said that he will not compete with Freeholder Director Rob Clifton for the Monmouth GOP line with the screening committee, but would  take the race to a primary.

“I think this will be fun and reinvigorate the western portion of the Monmouth GOP,” said the Mayor.

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Legislature, Monmouth GOP, NJ State Legislature, Reapportionment, Redistricting | Tags: , , , , | 12 Comments »

The map’s impact on Monmouth County Incumbents

By Art Gallagher

Click on the map for a full view

Click on the map for a full view

New district 11: Comprised from parts of the old 11th and 12th.  Jennifer Beck is the incumbent senator.  Caroline Casagrande and Mary Pat Angelini are incumbent assemblywomen.  A district with all female representatives!  That is probably a historical first.

This district includes Asbury Park.  Dan Jacobson’s political comeback is effectively over as he won’t challenge Jennifer Beck.  Beck’s career is the creation of Jacobson’s newspaper….just ask him, he’ll swear to it.

New district 12: In addition to the Monmouth towns of Allentown, Englishtown, Manalapan, Matawan, Millstone, Roosevelt and Upper Freehold, this district includes Old Bridge of Middlesex County, the Ocean County towns of Jackson and Plumsted and the Burlington County towns of Chesterfield, North Hanover, New Hanover and Wrightstown.

Sam Thompson of Old Bridge and Ronald Dancer of Plumsted are the incumbent assembly members.  There is no incumbent senator.   This district creates an opportunity for Monmouth County Freeholder Director Rob Clifton, and Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas to run for the legislature.  Dancer is also the Mayor of Plumsted.  Thompson is Chairman of the Middlesex County GOP.  It is unknown if either men have ambitions to move up to the Senate.

New district 13: Declan O’Scanlon of Little Silver joins Amy Handlin of Middletown in representing this district in the Assembly.  Joe Kyrillos of Middletown is the incumbent Senator. 

This district keeps the Bayshore from the old 13th, adds Atlantic Higlands, Highlands, Monmouth Beach,  Rumson and Sea Bright from the old 11th and Fair Haven, Little Silver, Oceanport, Marlboro from the old 12th.

New 30th:  Incumbent Senators Sean Kean (Wall) and Robert Singer (Lakewood)both live in this district.  Singer represented both Lakewood and Howell in the old 30th.  Singer has to be considered the favorite in a head to head match up with Kean in a primary.

In addition to Wall, Lakewood and Howell, the new district in comprised of the southern Monmouth coastal towns of Brielle, Bradley Beach, Avon by the Sea, Belmar, Lake Como, the Spring Lakes, Sea Girt, Manasquan.  Farmingdale rounds out the Monmouth towns in the district.  From Ocean County, Pt Pleasant and Pt. Pleasant Beach are in the district.

Dave Rible is the incumbent Assembly member from the new 30th and there is a vacancy.  Former Howell Mayor Joe DiBella could be a contender for the Assembly vacancy.   Would Kean consider going back to the Assembly? Stranger things have happened, but not very often.  Running for Assembly might be the only way for Kean to continue his political career.

Posted: April 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: NJ State Legislature, Reapportionment, Redistricting | Tags: , | 5 Comments »

Incumbent battles are plentiful under BTPG’s “The People’s Map”

While politicians draw lines to save their jobs the People’s Map creates genuine competition

Middletown, NJ –Several articles have come out recently displaying the hysterics surrounding the possibility of a handful of legislators who may lose their jobs as a result of the Apportionment Commission’s final map. Meanwhile, an analysis of “The People’s Map” illustrates nicely how genuine competition between and among parties and incumbents can be easily achieved by simply drawing district lines according to the Constitution.


Below are some of the intra-party battles created as a result of the non-gerrymandered map produced by the Bayshore Tea Party Group:


  • ·         District 4: Sen. Steve Sweeney (D) v. Sen. Fred Madden (D)
  • ·         District 13: Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R) v. Sen. Jenifer Beck (R)
  • ·         District 21: Sen. Barbara Buono (D) v. Sen. Bob Smith (D)
  • ·         District 27: Sen. Anthony R. Bucco (R) v. Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R)
  • ·         District 31: Sen. Brian Stack (D) v. Sen. Nicholas Sacco (D)
  • ·         District 9: Asm. Ronald Dancer v. Asw. Diane Gove v. Asm. Brian Rumpf


There are 11 additional districts in which incumbents of the same party would be pitted against one another. This is what representative democracy should look like.


While politicians holed up in lavish accommodations at one of New Brunswick’s finest hotels wheel and deal for their own personal benefit, voters are left with the scraps from a rancid political meal. “The People’s Map” changes that dynamic and forces long-term incumbents, many of whom have benefited for a decade from our previously Gerrymandered districts, to defend their records with their constituents and actually campaign for reelection.


It is a uniquely American ideal that no man should be entitled to the benefit of another’s labor. This ideal is no more applicable than in the world of electoral politics.


Upon discovering the information, primary map-maker and Bayshore Tea Party Group Redistricting Committee Chairman Sean Spinello stated:


“One thing that struck me with all the attempts at manipulating the matchups and wanting easy victories was that it sounded like old time boxing promoters…except with less integrity.”


The Bayshore Tea Party Group was heartened recently by NJ Apportionment Commission Co-Chairman and Assemblyman John Wisniewski’s statement citing the importance of adhering to the NJ Constitution with regard to the legislative map drawing, as reported in The Star-Ledger on March 28.


As per Chairman Wisniewski’s admonition, we expect that the Commission will issue a map fully compliant with law and the New Jersey Constitution, such as “The People’s Map.”

Please visit our website at 
www.bayshoreteaparty.org for information on how you can become involved with the effort to restore American Exceptionalism and fix our broken government. [email protected] or call 732-842-6652 for more information.

The Bayshore Tea Party Group Headquarters is located at 275 Rt. 35N in Middleotwn,NJ. Please contact

Posted: April 1st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Bayshore Tea Party Group, Reapportionment, Redistricting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

The Methodology Of Constructing “The People’s Map”

By Sean Spinello


The following is the methodology I employed to construct the Bayshore Tea Party Group’s “People’s Map.”  Thank you to More Monmouth Musings for allowing me to address some of the confusion and misinformation that has been spread elsewhere.


1. The People’s Map was drawn solely based on federal legal requirements and New Jersey Constitutional requirements.  No voter registration data or incumbent residency information whatsoever was known specifically so they could not cause intentional or even subconscious bias in the map drawing


2. The map was drawn using only US census data, a map of New Jersey, pencils, paper, calculators and a copy of the New Jersey Constitution. These items do not cost much.  No computers or mapping programs were utilized.  No “funding” or “support” was provided for the mapping “project”, which consisted of unpaid concerned citizens working for long hours to draw a map that meets federal legal and New Jersey Constitutional requirements.


3. “The People” for whom the map was drawn are all the people, regardless of party affiliation, who want the law followed and do not want the law disregarded in favor of ad hoc self-interested decision making by politicians. Admittedly, if someone wants a gerrymandered map that violates law and results in voter nullification and non-competitive elections, “The People’s Map” is not for you.


4. Some critics of our map are reading the wrong part of the State Constitution as the basis of their complaints, citing Article XI, rather than Article IV.  It is no wonder that “no matter how many times I read this provision”(i.e., Article XI), the author did not find the New Jersey Constitutional districting requirements.  Specifically, Article IV, Section II, Paragraph 3 of the New Jersey Constitution provides in relevant part:


“The Assembly districts shall be composed of contiguous territory, as nearly compact and equal in the number of their inhabitants as possible, and in no event shall each such district contain less than eighty per cent nor more than one hundred twenty per cent of one-fortieth of the total number of inhabitants of the State as reported in the last preceding decennial census of the United States. Unless necessary to meet the foregoing requirements, no county or municipality shall be divided among Assembly districts unless it shall contain more than one-fortieth of the total number of inhabitants of the State, and no county or municipality shall be divided among a number of Assembly districts larger than one plus the whole number obtained by dividing the number of inhabitants in the county or municipality by one-fortieth of the total number of inhabitants of the State.” (Emphasis Added).


5. Partisan gerrymandering is not one of the “foregoing requirements” that permits municipalities/counties to be split among more districts than prescribed by the New Jersey Constitution.  The Commission does NOT have the discretion to gerrymander by manipulating districts as it chooses for partisan advantage at the expense of the REQUIRED New Jersey Constitutional criteria such as population equality and limitation on municipal/county splits among districts. Only when discretionary factors such as the odious practice of partisan gerrymandering do NOT cause non-compliance with required Constitutional and legal criteria may such discretionary factors be considered.  Additionally, once we actually adopt a Constitutional map, there will be less dramatic district changes in the future.  What the partisan interests seek to do presently is to perpetuate an unconstitutional map by arguing it is in the interest of The People, rather than themselves, to look backward and protect incumbents.


6. While we have not yet seen the final map, based on the press reports of horse-trading districts and attempts to fix match-ups like old time boxing promoters, it is hard to imagine a resulting map that will comply with the New Jersey Constitution’s limitations on splitting municipalities and counties. By way of comparison, the current legislative districting map has 26 additional municipal/county “over-splits”; while “The People’s Map” has 3 since only 3 were necessary to meet the district legal requirements of population equality, contiguousness and compactness.  Three was the best I could do.  If possible, a different map with either 2, 1, or 0 extra splits would be even better, and I would encourage anyone who may make such a map to offer it publicly prior to Sunday’s vote irrespective of impact on incumbent protection.  If rather than the Constitutional limitation on municipal/county splitting, will the map be considered Constitutional if it violates the population requirements – NO.


7. A principle of conservatism is to want the law to be followed and if the law is not suitable, to follow the legal process to change the law.  It is not conservative in any way to only want the law followed when it suits one’s personal interests, and to disregard the law when it does not.  It is conservative to want our nation to be a nation of laws, not of men engaging in ad hoc lawless decision making while providing aristocratic handouts, such as tenured lifetime appointments as “elected” officials resulting from gerrymandered districts, “cleared primaries,” and no limitation on terms in office.  It certainly is not conservative of any elected official to participate in or support lawless district mapping for their self-interest. 


8. A government that is not accountable to the people at the ballot box will not be accountable to the people.


9.  I will support any map that all meets legal and Constitutional requirements and continue to oppose any map that does not.  


10. The Bayshore Tea Party Group fully supported drawing a map based solely on legal requirements (what else should be considered, really?) regardless of the outcome with respect to “incumbent protection” in either party.  We have been accused through shameless innuendo, and without any basis whatsoever, of choosing a side in the mapping to further some partisan interest.  Whose side are we on? – The side of the law.  And we would hope that all Commission members, as well as every one of our current legislators – also known as “lawmakers” who have sworn to uphold the law – would be on the side of the law rather than on the side of legal disregard for self-interest.  The partisan interests at stake are not Democrat and Republican; they are The People and the respective party establishments.  The bi-partisanship we need now is not an 11th hour power sharing agreement between partisan Commission members, it is the establishment “crossing the aisle” to join The People.  If Commission members truly represent the interests of The People, why wouldn’t they support the same map as a Commission member as they would if an independent voting member of the public? Over half of New Jersey voters are independent and neither Democrat nor Republican. 


11.  While others in the Bayshore Tea Party Group provided significant and time consuming help with the mapping effort, I drew the map’s districting, and re-drew it, and re-drew it until it was of unimpeachable Constitutionality.  Others in the Bayshore Tea Party Group learned of the specific districting when the map was completed.  I do not know Governor Christie nor any of his staff. No elected official, staff member, or other person related to any political party or agenda was consulted in any way or involved in any aspect of the mapping whatsoever.  It is truly a map of People, not party. 


12. Although I am concerned by the lack of elected officials and potential candidates seriously addressing the current problems of our great nation, I am not and will not be a candidate for any elected office.  It is very clear the impact that a private citizen with a pencil, pad, calculator and desire to follow the law can have on the public arena.  I will continue my efforts as a private citizen to advocate for lawful, principled government and leaders of uncompromising integrity.  I, and the Bayshore Tea Party Group, encourage all citizens – whether Democrat, Republican, third-party or independent, to do the same to protect The People’s liberty and make a positive impact on our communities, states, and America, the greatest nation on God’s earth.


Most respectfully submitted to my fellow citizens,


Sean Spinello


Posted: April 1st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Reapportionment, Redistricting | Tags: , , | 5 Comments »