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The New Jersey State Senate is currently controlled by Democrats by a margin of 24-16; an underwhelming margin for a state that voted 58-41 for Obama in 2012. The map that is currently being used was drawn by Democrats, but is not particularly favorable to Democrats; there are several large blue and light-blue towns that are stuck in Republican districts. The rules for New Jersey legislative redistricting are that no town that is smaller than a district may be split (which essentially means that only Newark and Jersey City can be split), and the maximum deviation from the ideal population is 5 percent (which translates to about 11,000 people).

I thus decided to draw a realistic Democratic gerrymander that follows all these rules and would result in Democrats having a much more commanding majority in the New Jersey State Senate. The map turned out even better than I thought it would. The map is shown and each district is presented below the fold.

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Here is a map of the entire state:

NJ StSen dis realistic dem gerry whole state

Here is a map of South Jersey:

NJ StSen dis realistic dem gerry south jersey

District 1 (blue): Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis Township)
Demographics: 67/13/17/1 (white/black/Hispanic/Asian, all VAP)
President ’12: 54.7-44.3 Obama

This district contains all of Cape May County except for Ocean City, then includes Vineland, Millville, and Bridgeton, and then takes in three small municipalities in Atlantic County. Van Drew currently represents the most Republican district in New Jersey held by a Democrat, and he seems to be quite secure, considering that he got 59% in 2013 even as Chris Christie won this district in a landslide. I made this district a bit more Democratic by dropping Ocean City and adding Bridgeton, however this is still the least-Democratic district on this map that was drawn for a Democrat. Van Drew doesn’t need the extra help, but if he were to run for Congress, this adjustment could help ensure that his successor is a Democrat. SAFE D with Van Drew, LEAN D if open.

District 2 (green): Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford)
Demographics: 79/13/5/2
President ’12: 56.2-42.4 Obama

This district contains the remainder of Cumberland County, all of Salem County, and then the most Democratic parts of Gloucester County, including Deptford, West Deptford, and Woodbury. Sweeney, the current President of the New Jersey Senate, has won comfortably in a district similar to this, so he should be fine. SAFE D.

District 3 (purple): Fred Madden (D-Washington Township)
Demographics: 83/9/4/3
President ’12: 56.9-41.9 Obama

This district contains the more Republican areas of Gloucester County (including Madden’s hometown of Washington Township, which voted about 50-50 in 2012) and a strongly Democratic slice of Camden County, including Gloucester Township, Gloucester City, and Lawnside. This district is slightly less Democratic than Madden’s current district, but considering that Madden got 62 percent of the vote in 2011, he should be safe here. SAFE D.

District 4 (red): Open Seat
Demographics: 71/17/9/3
President ’12: 60.6-38.3 Obama

This district is a compact slice of South Jersey midway between Camden and Atlantic City. The largest municipalities here are Monroe Township (Gloucester County), Winslow Township (Camden County) and Hamilton Township (Atlantic County). Based on the partisanship of the district, it should be easy for any Democrat to win this. SAFE D.

District 5 (yellow): Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic City)
Demographics: 61/15/14/8
President ’12: 58.3-40.9 Obama

This district consists of the coastal half of Atlantic County plus the red town of Ocean City. It’s only about a point less Democratic than Whelan’s current district, so he should be fine. SAFE D.

District 6 (teal): James Beach (D-Voorhees), Dawn Marie Addiego (R-Evesham)
Demographics: 82/5/4/8
President ’12: 59.2-39.6 Obama

This district consists of the Haddon area in Camden County, as well as Cherry Hill, Voorhees, and Evesham. Most of this district is currently represented by Beach (who is very popular in his district), and if Addiego challenged him, he would easily defeat her. SAFE D.

District 7 (gray): Donald Norcross (D-Camden), Diane Allen (R-Edgewater Park)
Demographics: 39/33/22/3
President ’12: 78.3-20.9 Obama

At first glance, this district may look like a Democratic vote sink. Why else would Camden and Willingboro both be in the same district? But in reality this district is my attempt to get rid of the extremely annoying Diane Allen, who holds down a 64 percent Obama district with ease. Thus, I removed some of her best towns (such as Mount Laurel and Moorestown), kept in the district the one town that she reliably loses (Willingboro), and added Camden and Pennsauken. Norcross is running for Congress, but either of Camden’s two Assemblymen (Angel Fuentes and Gilbert “Whip” Wilson) could run, as well as either of the Assemblymen in Allen’s district (Herb Conaway of Delanco and Troy Singleton of Palmyra). I find it almost impossible to believe that any Republican, even one as strong as Diane Allen, could win a 78 percent Obama district that is 1/3 African-American. LIKELY D with Allen, SAFE D without her.

District 8 (slate blue): Open Seat
Demographics: 72/14/6/6
President ’12: 59.8-39.2 Obama

Finally, a solidly-Democratic state senate district entirely in Burlington County that neither Allen nor Addiego live in. Both of the Republican Assemblypeople who represent Addiego’s district also live in Evesham, so they could not run here. Thus, not a single current member of the New Jersey state legislature lives here. Based on the election results, it’s pretty clear that a Democrat would win here, unless the Republicans find a Diane Allen clone living a few miles east of where Allen actually lives. SAFE D.

Here is a map of Central Jersey:

NJ StSen dis realistic dem gerry central jersey

District 9 (cyan): Open Seat
Demographics: 51/26/18/3
President ’12: 67.2-31.8 Obama

This district includes Trenton, Hamilton, and Robbinsville, and then goes south to pick up some conservative-leaning areas of Burlington County. Trenton’s current state senator, Shirley Turner, lives outside this district in Lawrence Township, but state representative Reed Gusciora (D) lives in Trenton and would be a strong candidate here. State Representatives Dan Benson (D) and Wayne DeAngelo (D), who represent Linda Greenstein’s district and who live in Hamilton, could also run here. But it’s clear that only a Democrat could win here. SAFE D.

District 10 (deep pink): Open Seat
Demographics: 64/13/9/12
President ’12: 61.5-37.2 Obama

Yet another district where no current state senator lives. This district includes Ewing, Hopewell, and Lambertville, and then goes north to take in Hillsborough, Franklin, and Somerville in Somerset County. The most logical candidate here would be State Representative Upendra Chivukula (D-Franklin), a strong progressive. There’s no way that a Republican could win here. SAFE D.

District 11 (chartreuse): Jennifer Beck (R-Red Bank)
Demographics: 69/14/12/3
President ’12: 55.9-42.9 Obama

This district is about as Democratic as possible for a district entirely in Monmouth County. It stretches along the Jersey Shore from South Belmar to Atlantic Highlands, and contains Neptune, Ocean Township, Tinton Falls, Asbury Park, and Long Branch. While it’s only a point or two more Democratic than Beck’s current district, some strongly-Republican towns (such as Freehold and Colts Neck) were removed, and were replaced with light-red and purple towns. Democrats have no bench here, but they should be able to be competitive just by the lean of the district. TOSSUP.

District 12 (cornflower blue): Christopher Connors (R-Lacey)
Demographics: 93/1/4/1
President ’12: 57.1-41.8 Romney

This district takes in the most Republican areas of Burlington County and the southern areas of Ocean County. Connors should be completely safe here. SAFE R.

District 13 (dark salmon): James Holzapfel (R-Toms River)
Demographics: 89/2/6/2
President ’12: 56.7-42.3 Romney

This district contains Toms River and Brick, and then a bunch of small neighboring municipalities. Holzapfel is in absolutely no danger here. SAFE R.

District 14 (olive): Robert Singer (R-Lakewood)
Demographics: 82/5/10/2
President ’12: 61.4-37.7 Romney

This district, one of the most Republican in the state, consists of Lakewood, Jackson, Manchester, and a few smaller towns. The retirement communities and Hasidic Jews make this district unwinnable by Democrats. SAFE R.

District 15 (tomato): Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence)
Demographics: 68/6/10/15
President ’12: 57.3-41.5 Obama

This district includes the liberal suburbs of Trenton and then goes east to include light-red Freehold and Marlboro. Interestingly, not a single state representative lives here, but Turner could probably win this district by dominating the Mercer County portion of it. This is actually one of the least Democratic districts meant for a Democrat on this map, but a Democrat is still very likely to win it. LIKELY D.

District 16 (lime green): Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro)
Demographics: 65/7/8/19
President ’12: 57.2-41.8 Obama

This district includes Manalapan, Monroe Township, South Brunswick, and North Brunswick along with Greenstein’s hometown of Plainsboro. It’s not as Democratic as many of the other Democratic districts on this map, but it’s about as Democratic as her current district. She shouldn’t have much trouble winning this, but out of an abundance of caution I’ll say LIKELY D.

District 17 (dark slate blue): Joe Kyrillos (R-Middletown?)
Demographics: 88/2/5/4
President ’12: 59.1-39.6 Romney

This district takes in all the most Republican areas of Monmouth County, from Wall and Howell through Colts Neck to Middletown and Holmdel. While I’m not completely sure which municipality Joe Kyrillos lives in, he probably lives in Middletown or some smaller nearby town, and he would definitely run here. SAFE R.

District 18 (yellow): Sam Thompson (R-Old Bridge)
Demographics: 61/8/17/13
President ’12: 60.5-38.1 Obama

This district stretches from Aberdeen and Old Bridge through East Brunswick to New Brunswick and Highland Park. No Democratic state senator lives here, but Assemblyman Joseph Egan (D-New Brunswick) does, and would be a strong candidate for the Democrats. LIKELY D with Thompson, SAFE D without him.

District 19 (yellow-green): Joseph Vitale (D-Woodbridge)
Demographics: 49/8/27/14
President ’12: 65.5-33.5 Obama

This district is basically the same as Vitale’s current district: Sayreville, the Amboys, and Woodbridge. Vitale is popular in his district, and would win easily. SAFE D.

District 20 (light pink): Bob Smith (D-Piscataway)
Demographics: 44/19/21/15
President ’12: 66.0-32.9 Obama

This district contains Piscataway and the Plainfield area, and then goes west to include the light-red town of Bridgewater. It’s still a strongly Democratic district, and Smith would not have any trouble winning here. SAFE D.

Here is a map of North Jersey:

NJ StSen dis realistic dem gerry north jersey

District 21 (maroon): Peter Barnes (D-Edison), Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield)
Demographics: 59/9/9/22
President ’12: 59.0-40.0 Obama

This district contains Edison and some towns north of it in Union County, including Scotch Plains, Westfield, and Rahway. Barnes was a state representative when he was appointed to this seat in January to fill the vacancy created by Barbara Buono. Kean currently represents a much redder district, and so would have a tough time here. Barnes should do fine here. LIKELY D with Kean, SAFE D without Kean.

District 22 (sienna): Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden)
Demographics: 61/14/18/6
President ’12: 60.8-38.2 Obama

This district stretches from Carteret, Linden, and Roselle northwest through Summit all the way to Morristown. Scutari represents less than half of this district, however that half is the more Democratic half. He should be able to win this district without too much trouble. SAFE D.

District 23 (aquamarine): Raymond Lesniak (D-Elizabeth)
Demographics: 38/17/37/6
President ’12: 70.2-29.2 Obama

This district includes five municipalities: Florham Park, Millburn, Union Township, Kenilworth, and Elizabeth. Lesniak, a major power broker, would be completely safe in this heavily Democratic district. SAFE D.

District 24 (indigo): Ronald Rice (D-Newark)
Demographics: 26/51/18/3
President ’12: 86.7-12.8 Obama (not exact due to split of Newark)

This district contains three whole municipalities (Hillside, Irvington, and Bayonne), and then the southern part of Newark, which is mostly African-American. Any African-American Democrat could easily win here. SAFE D.

District 25 (pale violet red): Open Seat
Demographics: 64/12/8/14
President ’12: 59.8-39.3 Obama

This district is very similar to Richard Codey’s current district, but Codey lives just outside the district in Roseland. He’d probably move into the district. The major towns here are Parsippany-Troy Hills, Livingston, West Orange, South Orange, and Maplewood. The latter three towns are the Democratic base of the district; the rest of it (especially the Hanover-East Hanover area) leans Republican. But this district is three points more Democratic than Codey’s current district, so he should do fine. SAFE D.

District 26 (gray): Nia Gill (D-Montclair), Kevin O’Toole (R-Cedar Grove)
Demographics: 45/41/9/3
President ’12: 73.3-26.0 Obama

This district is the second African-American-opportunity district, and it contains Orange and East Orange as well as strongly-liberal Montclair and the conservative Caldwells. Gill would have no problem here, and O’Toole most likely wouldn’t even try. SAFE D.

District 27 (spring green): Christopher Bateman (R-Branchburg)
Demographics: 85/2/5/8
President ’12: 60.1-38.9 Romney

Taking a brief break from Essex County, we get to this district, which stretches from Raritan and Readington Townships in Hunterdon County to Bernards and Bedminster in Somerset County to Berkeley Heights and New Providence in Union County. It also contains a slice of Morris County, including Chris Christie’s hometown of Mendham. This strongly-Republican district is very safe for Bateman, which he should appreciate considering that Democrats have heavily targeted his current seat recently. SAFE R.

District 28 (plum): Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark)
Demographics: 15/39/39/4
President ’12: 94.0-5.6 Obama (not exact due to split of Newark)

Moving back to Essex County, this district includes the remainder of Newark as well as the small neighboring towns of East Newark and Harrison. It’s hard to get more Democratic than this. SAFE D.

District 29 (dark sea green): Open Seat
Demographics: 57/7/25/10
President ’12: 62.7-36.2 Obama

This district contains five municipalities: Bloomfield, Belleville, Nutley, Clifton, and Elmwood Park. No incumbent state senator lives here, and the only state representative who lives here is Ralph Caputo (D-Bloomfield). Any Democrat could win this without much trouble, considering that it had one of the largest swings in Obama’s direction in 2012 of any district in New Jersey. SAFE D.

District 30 (light coral): Sandra Bolden Cunningham (D-Jersey City)
Demographics: 36/22/23/17
President ’12: 77.4-21.5 Obama (not exact due to split of Jersey City)

This is one of the most diverse districts on this map, and it consists of a majority of Jersey City plus Kearney, North Arlington, and Lyndhurst. Cunningham would be completely safe here. SAFE D.

District 31 (khaki): Nicholas Sacco (D-North Bergen)
Demographics: 29/6/48/15
President ’12: 76.7-22.4 Obama (not exact due to split of Jersey City)

This district contains North Bergen, Secaucus, Rutherford, Passaic, and a slice of Jersey City that is mostly Hispanic and Asian. Sacco, once dubbed the most powerful person in Hudson County, is totally safe. SAFE D.

District 32 (orange-red): Brian Stack (D-Union City)
Demographics: 33/3/56/7
President ’12: 74.5-24.4 Obama (not exact due to split of Jersey City)

Everyone’s favorite Christiecrat gets his own district here. It’s the smallest in area of any district, and it contains Union City, Hoboken, Weehawken, West New York, Guttenberg, and a final slice of Jersey City (this one is mostly Hispanic). The Hudson County machine is alive and well, and will ensure that only Democrats win here. SAFE D.

District 33 (royal blue): Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest)
Demographics: 50/5/17/26
President ’12: 62.1-37.0 Obama

This district contains the portions of Bergen County closest to, and on, the shore of the Hudson River. The major towns here are Cliffside Park, Fort Lee, Englewood, and Tenafly. No Democratic state senator lives here, however three Democratic Assemblypeople live here, and any of them could run. Cardinale is one of the most senior state senators in New Jersey, and he’d probably retire rather than run in a district like this. SAFE D.

District 34 (lime green): Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge)
Demographics: 58/8/21/12
President ’12: 63.3-35.6 Obama

This is the only district on this map where I have combined two Democratic incumbents, and there was really no way around it. I wanted to make sure that Hackensack, Teaneck, and Englewood were all in different districts, and the Wood-Ridge area (Sarlo’s home base) is purple, so I wanted to put a strongly Democratic town with it, and Teaneck was the best choice. Personally, I’d prefer Weinberg over Sarlo, simply because Sarlo is a double-dipper (he’s also mayor of Wood-Ridge), and I strongly oppose the idea of double-dipping. Either Sarlo or Weinberg would be able to easily win this district. SAFE D.

District 35 (dark orchid): Nellie Pou (D-Paterson)
Demographics: 36/19/39/4
President ’12: 72.1-27.3 Obama

This district contains four municipalities: Paterson, the third-largest city in New Jersey, Woodland Park and Totowa, two smaller towns, and Wayne, a large, Republican-leaning township west of Paterson. Paterson’s overwhelming blueness renders the other three towns almost irrelevant; they will never be able to outvote Paterson. Any Democrat running here will be safe. SAFE D.

District 36 (orange): Robert Gordon (D-Fair Lawn)
Demographics: 65/7/16/11
President ’12: 57.6-41.4 Obama

This district is considerably more Democratic than Gordon’s current district (which voted 54.5 percent for Obama and saw a close call in a state assembly race). It contains Hackensack, Paramus, Ridgewood, and Fair Lawn. Gordon and the two Democratic Assemblypeople here should be able to breathe easier now. LIKELY D merely out of caution.

District 37 (dodger blue): Open Seat
Demographics: 85/1/6/7
President ’12: 58.3-40.8 Romney

This district neatly consists of the entire remainder of Bergen County plus North Haledon in Passaic County. No incumbent lives here, as this area is currently represented by either Cardinale or O’Toole, but Assemblypeople Holly Schepisi (R-River Vale) and Robert Auth (R-Old Tappan) live here, and they could easily win the seat. This area is just too rich and too white for Democrats to have much of a chance here. SAFE R.

District 38 (medium aquamarine): Michael Doherty (R-Washington Township, Warren County)
Demographics: 87/3/6/3
President ’12: 58.2-40.3 Romney

This district includes all of Warren County, the remainder of Hunterdon, and the two westernmost townships in Morris County. This area is solidly Republican, and Doherty would have nothing to worry about. SAFE R.

District 39 (moccasin): Anthony Bucco (R-Boonton Township), Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville)
Demographics: 77/2/14/7
President ’12: 55.0-43.9 Romney

This district, located mostly in Morris County, includes Roxbury, Randolph, Rockaway, and Montville. These outer suburbs are strongly Republican – the only Democratic town here is mostly-Hispanic Dover. Whichever of Bucco and Pennacchio won the Republican primary would easily win the general election. SAFE R.

District 40 (firebrick): Steve Oroho (R-Franklin Borough)
Demographics: 89/2/6/2
President ’12: 58.5-40.0 Romney

This district in the northwestern part of the state contains all of Sussex County, the northwestern extension of Passaic County, and two small towns in Morris County. It is one of the most Republican districts in the state, and Oroho would continue to win here. SAFE R.

Thus, this map contains 9 safe Republican districts, 1 Tossup (11), a few Likely Democratic districts, and the rest Safe Democratic. Obviously this would be a substantial improvement from the 24D-16R split that we have now.

I hope you enjoyed reading, and I welcome any feedback, comments, or questions!


How many seats would the Democrats win under this map?

5%1 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
17%3 votes
0%0 votes
52%9 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
23%4 votes

| 17 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

    by ProudNewEnglander on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 08:09:35 AM PDT

  •  Very nicely done. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ProudNewEnglander, ArkDem14

    One issue would be the 5th, which still has some old Republican tendencies (even under current lines).  That said, Whelan has more than proven his capability and Lorenzo Langford is gone.

    “The universe is big. It’s vast and complicated and ridiculous. And sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles.” -The Doctor

    by KingofSpades on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 09:27:26 AM PDT

  •  Very nice (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Interesting what you did with District 18.

  •  Codey (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    1. Great work and well written
    2. FYI Codey's office is in Livingston so I imagine your analysis that he would move into the 25th is spot on

  •  Good overall (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ProudNewEnglander, gabjoh

    A few minor gripes.

    -Nellie Pou lives in North Haledon, not Paterson, but I'd imagine she'd move anyway.

    -I think Kean would beat Barnes in the new 21st, as midterm dropoff would be a huge problem in that district.  You probably have to combine Westfield with Elizabeth to truly knock him out.

    -I don't think a few of your districts meet the criteria of being realistic.  Even if 22 and 23 passed (which seems too much even for NJ), 34 would NEVER pass.  There's no way they would combine two Democrats.

    -I think you're overestimating the extent to which Obama's numbers reflect State Senate elections.  In quite a few suburban areas, I think you need to hit 55% Obama before you can even talk about Lean D since our elections are in odd years.

    Still, this is overall very well done.  I've been thinking about doing one of these for awhile, and I just might if I find the time.

    •  I get your point about district 34 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I considered adding Carlstadt and Wood-Ridge to the 33rd in exchange for (for example) Dumont, but I figured that might look too ugly. Then again, as you mentioned, I did draw districts 22 and 23, so if that was the main sticking point, I could make that change.

      As for the 21st, I have no doubt that Kean would do well in Westfield, Clark, and probably Scotch Plains. However, he is currently mostly unknown in Edison, Metuchen, and Rahway, and those three towns are not only Democratic but also together constitute more than half of the district. Would that many Edisoners vote for a Republican over a Democrat who was from Edison? And also, most of Edison's minorities are Asian. Do Asians have as severe a midterm dropoff in New Jersey as African-Americans and Hispanics do?

      Also, as for Kean and Westfield, would combining Westfield and Plainfield have the same effect as combining Westfield with Elizabeth?

      Finally, as to your last point, only one of the Democratic-intended districts on my map is less than 55% Obama, and that's Jeff Van Drew's district. Only three Democratic districts are 56% Obama, and two are in South Jersey (where the current incumbents hold districts with about that partisanship) and the third is the Monmouth district. All other Democratic districts are at least 57% Obama, and I think that warrants at least a Likely D rating. Heck, Gordon's current district in Bergen is only 54% Obama, and he manages to win that with a few points to spare.

      (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

      by ProudNewEnglander on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 12:01:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Asians, IMO, have a higher dropoff here (0+ / 0-)

        Keep in mind that Barnes almost lost to the Mayor of East Brunswick, Dave Stahl, despite him being an unknown in Edison.  The well-funded Kean could easily compete in the new district.

        I think Plainfield might not be large enough to offset the red areas of Union County.  It's possible you could knock him off that way, but I think Elizabeth would be the only safe bet (I'd probably have to draw it myself to be sure though).

        Good point about the Obama percentages, I guess the only one I'm not so sure about is the 11th.  I think it's very winnable without Beck, but she's probably at Likely R in that district.  A lack of a real bench in Monmouth contributes to that.

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