(This is a tremendous effort and a model for all future redistricting diaries, of which I’m sure we can expect many in the coming years – promoted by DavidNYC)
After reading Duffman’s excellent diary on redistricting New Jersey, I thought I’d take a crack at a 12-seat map. (I had done a 13-seat map awhile back, but it’s not nearly as exciting.) Unlike Duffman, though, I’m horribly shameless and did this without any intent of compactness, which I think will become readily obvious. My goal was to squeeze as many Democratic districts out as possible, while still conforming to the VRA.
I think I pretty much pulled out all the tricks in the book, while keeping Democratic incumbents in their home districts (although, seriously, Frank Pallone, get the f— out of Long Branch – you are singlehandedly responsible for half the ugliness of NJ districts). In the end, we get a 10-2 Democratic map, one where no Democratic district was less than 54% Obama at that. Maps, summary statistics, and more sardonic commentary over the flip.
To start, I used this map of Obama’s performance. Red/blue are obvious. Lightest shade is a margin of less than 5%, then 5-10, 10-20, and above 20. There’s a corresponding map for average margin from 2004-2006 (2008 hadn’t happened when I did the 13-seat map), which averages Kerry, Corzine, and Menendez’s margins.
So going district by district, here’s what we’ve got (for statistics, I also have raw vote totals, but I don’t think that’s as important here. The numbers here, in order, are: Population, Obama%, McCain%, Kerry%, Bush% in 2004.
|NJ-01 || ||700,792 ||59.95% ||38.78% ||55.24% ||43.14%|
| ||Burlington ||42,275 ||54.34% ||44.75% ||49.67% ||49.45%|
| ||Camden ||321,832 ||68.25% ||30.55% ||62.34% ||35.65%|
| ||Cumberland ||17,727 ||45.73% ||52.68% ||42.55% ||55.71%|
| ||Gloucester ||254,673 ||55.41% ||43.27% ||51.98% ||46.68%|
| ||Salem ||64,285 ||51.16% ||47.24% ||45.91% ||52.49%|
Bottom line is, I don’t like Rob Andrews. I think what he pulled with his seat after challenging Lautenberg is pure BS, and I don’t think you’ll find me shedding any tears if he suddenly disappeared off the political stage. With that in mind, I tried to make his district less Camden-centric. It incorporates the entirety of Gloucester and Salem counties, along with the Republican parts of Salem. Camden proper and Andrews’ home in Haddon Heights is still here, but with the inclusion of Evesham Township in Burlington County, this district is majority not-Camden County. Obama ran just shy of 60%, Kerry got 55% – enough for a staunch Dem district.
|NJ-02 || ||701,012 ||54.01% ||44.76% ||49.02% ||49.20%|
| ||Atlantic ||252,552 ||56.98% ||41.92% ||52.01% ||46.17%|
| ||Burlington ||57,222 ||51.51% ||47.15% ||45.90% ||52.66%|
| ||Camden ||68,660 ||65.10% ||33.72% ||58.79% ||39.37%|
| ||Cape May ||102,326 ||45.03% ||53.68% ||41.97% ||56.35%|
| ||Cumberland ||128,711 ||62.67% ||36.01% ||53.99% ||43.80%|
| ||Ocean ||91,541 ||42.47% ||56.18% ||41.02% ||57.50%|
I think there’s a lot of untapped potential in NJ-02, and we never seem to be able to capitalize. Unfortunately, with the slower population growth, this district has to expand northward. This district contains all of Atlantic and Cape May counties, and the parts of Cumberland not in the NJ-01. I’d like to think the split worked, given that Obama earned 62% in the NJ-02 part of Cumberland, while only 45% in the 1st. Throw in a bit of Ocean County, an arm into Camden, and some of Burlington including Democratic Pemberton, and you get a 54% Obama district. Kerry only narrowly lost here. Frank LoBiondo’s home in Ventnor City remains.
|NJ-03 || ||700,563 ||57.30% ||41.64% ||52.45% ||46.00%|
| ||Burlington ||323,897 ||60.57% ||38.42% ||54.38% ||44.36%|
| ||Camden ||118,440 ||67.38% ||31.74% ||61.81% ||36.30%|
| ||Mercer ||97,384 ||53.76% ||44.74% ||48.51% ||49.04%|
| ||Monmouth ||160,842 ||45.86% ||53.14% ||44.21% ||54.44%|
In my mind, there’s no point in dragging NJ-03 out to the Jersey shore, forcing it to pick up some nasty bits of Ocean County. (Packing and cracking, holler.) So this district pretty much runs diagonally up the state. Burlington is the center of population, but John Adler’s home of Cherry Hill (along with other Camden municipalities) stay in. Instead of touching Ocean County, it instead grabs some of the somewhat less-Republican Monmouth County – including Freehold and Marlboro Townships. On balance, you get a 57% Obama district – a big improvement over the 52% Obama scored in the current 3rd.
|NJ-04 || ||701,196 ||41.36% ||57.44% ||39.28% ||59.41%|
| ||Monmouth ||281,821 ||43.94% ||54.88% ||40.72% ||57.87%|
| ||Ocean ||419,375 ||39.59% ||59.18% ||38.25% ||60.50%|
Well, the Republicans have to go somewhere, and this district is it. I tried to string together the most Republican parts of Ocean and Monmouth, and this strip running up the Jersey shore is what you get. I probably could have done a better job in Monmouth by pulling out some of the Democratic municipalities like Red Bank and given them to NJ-06, but that would have messed up the Middlesex districting. I take pride in that both Republican districts had Kerry scoring less than 40%, and Obama getting no more than 42%. I know that technically, Christopher Smith’s house in Hamilton Township is in Mercer County, but eh, I have no reservations against drawing Republicans out.
|NJ-05 || ||701,447 ||41.91% ||57.04% ||38.55% ||60.20%|
| ||Bergen ||263,780 ||45.31% ||53.99% ||42.60% ||56.43%|
| ||Hunterdon ||34,314 ||37.74% ||60.96% ||35.30% ||63.95%|
| ||Morris ||160,430 ||40.90% ||58.12% ||37.20% ||61.68%|
| ||Passaic ||39,672 ||42.86% ||56.00% ||39.16% ||58.74%|
| ||Somerset ||17,858 ||39.70% ||59.09% ||36.21% ||62.47%|
| ||Sussex ||144,166 ||38.86% ||59.61% ||34.39% ||63.95%|
| ||Warren ||41,227 ||37.54% ||60.73% ||33.73% ||64.40%|
The other Republican district around here. Again, I tried to pack as much nastiness into this one district, and I think I mostly succeeded. This district takes in all of Sussex County. Originally, all of Warren and more of Morris county were going to go in, but I realized through some creative “tentacling,” this district could grab out some of the less-hospitable bits of Bergen (maintaining the Democratic performance in Steve Rothman’s district) without endangering Rush Holt. Hence the tentacles into Morris, Somerset, and Hunterdon. I think this also shows the relatively larger swing that Obama got in Northwest Jersey, as Obama did better here than in NJ-04, while Kerry did worse. Yes, Scott Garrett’s home in Wantage Township is still here.
|NJ-06 || ||701,196 ||59.74% ||39.16% ||54.99% ||43.59%|
| ||Middlesex ||528,558 ||60.70% ||38.18% ||56.15% ||42.44%|
| ||Monmouth ||172,638 ||56.85% ||42.09% ||51.65% ||46.89%|
When looking at the Presidential results, I realized that Plainfield, at 93% Obama (!!), was part of what was anchoring the Democratic performance here. This was putting a crimp in my plans for NJ-07, so I tried to keep the performance here up without Plainfield. The fact that this had to reach around large swaths of Monmouth County though, was a challenge. I thought Obama performed less well in the Monmouth part of the district (anchored in Asbury Park and Long Branch), but at 57%, no one’s complaining. Frank Pallone lives in Long Branch, which is along the shore (…seriously, move.) Staunchly Republican Middletown Township was getting in the way, along with roughly 50-50 Old Bridge. Luckily, the Brunswicks – New, North, East, and South – were happy to oblige, leaving Obama just shy of 60% here. Yes, this district is contiguous – just ask Sea Bright and Keansburg.
|NJ-07 || ||701,196 ||54.72% ||44.38% ||50.16% ||48.63%|
| ||Essex ||47,156 ||57.44% ||41.79% ||54.67% ||44.35%|
| ||Morris ||288,943 ||48.47% ||50.61% ||44.13% ||54.77%|
| ||Somerset ||37,073 ||54.11% ||44.83% ||48.31% ||50.39%|
| ||Union ||328,024 ||60.09% ||39.03% ||55.29% ||43.37%|
I had designed an old 7th district for Linda Stender awhile ago (when I thought she was going to win), so I made sure to keep Scotch Plains in this district. I also thought we were letting Democratic votes go to waste in Morristown, so I strung the two together. Because of the increased population requirement in going from 13 to 12 districts, this district takes in more bits of Essex and Somerset counties than before, but Obama’s solid 60% in the Plainfield-Westfield-Scotch Plains-Union Township anchor keeps this district at 55% Obama. Incidentally, Rod Frelinghuysen’s home in Harding Township gets placed here.
|NJ-08 || ||701,196 ||60.86% ||38.29% ||55.30% ||42.01%|
| ||Bergen ||61,390 ||51.07% ||47.79% ||49.93% ||48.66%|
| ||Essex ||190,429 ||60.72% ||38.45% ||56.20% ||42.48%|
| ||Passaic ||449,377 ||62.62% ||36.57% ||55.75% ||40.59%|
There are some good Democratic votes in Essex County that I didn’t want to all pack into Donald Payne’s district, so this is where they went. Added is Southern Passaic County, especially the very Democratic cities of Passaic, Clifton, and Paterson (where Bill Pascrell lives, incidentally). Also to relieve pressure on Steve Rothman, this district takes in four municipalities in Southwest Bergen County. You get a 61% Obama district, a few points shy of the current 8th, but Pascrell will survive.
|NJ-09 || ||701,092 ||61.06% ||38.12% ||58.07% ||40.82%|
| ||Bergen ||558,948 ||60.20% ||39.00% ||57.47% ||41.42%|
| ||Hudson ||142,144 ||65.42% ||33.65% ||61.18% ||37.71%|
This district, I think, changes the least from the current configuration. It keeps most of southern Bergen county. I would specify the municipalities that form the core, but I think the heuristic ‘towns in which you’re stuck in traffic on 95 before the Bridge” works well enough. It does reach a bit farther north than before, hitting the New York state line, and also south into Secaucus and Kearny in Hudson County – so basically, all of I-95 north of the Turnpike split and the Meadowlands. Fair Lawn – Steve Rothman’s residence – remains in this 61% Obama district.
|NJ-10 || ||702,254 ||81.68% ||17.82% ||75.29% ||23.51%|
| ||Essex ||556,048 ||85.36% ||14.20% ||79.00% ||19.85%|
| ||Morris ||20,839 ||41.17% ||58.11% ||40.02% ||58.96%|
| ||Union ||125,367 ||74.68% ||24.55% ||67.38% ||31.10%|
The current NJ-10 and NJ-13 I always thought had unnecessary encroachments on each other, and this configuration cleaves Newark and Jersey City into separate districts. Obviously, this is centered on Newark (Donald Payne’s residence), which has about 40% of the district’s population. Also included are the Oranges, and a branch to hit Roselle Park through Elizabeth. I didn’t want too much Democratic goodness in Union and Essex to go here, so it reaches northwest from Newark to hit the nasty parts (Essex Fells, Fairfield, etc) and has a township in Morris County included for good measure. By my calculations, this district is 47.5% African-American and another 23% Hispanic/Latino, which should satisfy the VRA as a ‘coalition’ district. At 82% Democratic, this is the most Democratic in New Jersey.
|NJ-11 || ||701,196 ||71.82% ||27.28% ||65.06% ||32.83%|
| ||Hudson ||466,831 ||75.11% ||24.05% ||67.87% ||29.70%|
| ||Middlesex ||165,215 ||63.55% ||35.40% ||57.75% ||40.80%|
| ||Union ||69,150 ||69.92% ||29.19% ||64.98% ||33.36%|
Renumbered from the 13th, this district is centered on Jersey City and Bayonne. It also includes Hoboken and Albio Sires’ home in West New York. Going south, it goes through Elizabeth and Linden in Union county to Carteret, Woodbridge, and Perth Amboy in Middlesex. This district is 42% Hispanic and another 15% African-American, which again should satisfy the VRA. I think that’s why the current NJ-10 and 13 interfere so much, so that the majority-Black areas in Jersey City are included in the 10th and the predominantly Hispanic areas in Newark are kept in the 13th. Either way, 72% Obama, no worries.
|NJ-12 || ||701,210 ||57.88% ||40.96% ||52.16% ||45.83%|
| ||Hunterdon ||87,675 ||44.55% ||54.01% ||40.60% ||58.30%|
| ||Mercer ||253,377 ||73.71% ||25.25% ||65.18% ||31.40%|
| ||Middlesex ||56,389 ||52.76% ||46.22% ||52.35% ||46.34%|
| ||Somerset ||242,559 ||53.30% ||45.60% ||47.92% ||50.70%|
| ||Warren ||61,210 ||45.94% ||52.46% ||40.12% ||58.17%|
Unquestionably, this is the district I’m most proud of. The current map was designed to help Rush Holt, and he does happen to be one of the Congresspeople I like more than most. So I set out trying to draw a good district for him. Obviously, the Democratic strength would have to come from Mercer County. Trenton is currently split between NJ-04 and this one, but with NJ-04 out of the picture, all of 93% Obama Trenton can fit here. Throw in Hopewell, Princeton, and you get a 74% Obama section. To the North, this district basically carves out the less Republican parts of Hunterdon, Warren and Somerset, and I think this shows – Obama scored 45% in this district’s part of Hunterdon, 46% in Warren, and 53% in Somerset, as opposed to the 38% he got in the parts of Hunterdon and Warren in the 5th and 40% in Somerset. Rush Holt’s home in Hopewell Township is here (as is Leonard Lance’s residence in Clinton Township in Hunterdon). At 57.9% Obama, this is only a 0.20% drop from Holt’s current district. Oh and yes, it is contiguous.
So there you have it. Questions, comments?
If you want shapefiles, vote statistics, outline maps, please ask!