Every 10 years following the United States Census, states redraw their congressional district lines. The bipartisan New Jersey Redistricting Commission charged with drawing the boundaries for congressional districts for the next decade voted 7-6 last week to approve a map put forward by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. Former Supreme Court Justice John Wallace, the 13th and tiebreaking member of the commission, sided with Democrats, saying the Republican map won 10 years ago and therefore to be fair, Democrats should win this time.
In Mercer County, Lawrence, East Windsor, and Hightstown have been moved from District 12 to District 3. Democrat Bonnie Watson Coleman is the U.S. Rep. for the 12th District. Democrat Andy Kim is the U.S. Rep. for the 3rd District. Hamilton Township and Robbinsbille have been moved from District 4 to District 3. Republican Chris Smith is the U.S. Rep. for the 4th District.
While the new map is expected to benefit three previously vulnerable Democratic incumbents, including Kim, some political analysts predict that the Democrats’ 10-2 majority in the New Jersey delegation will shrink to 9-3. The 7th district has lost Democratic areas, leaving Rep. Tom Malinowski vulnerable. Republican state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., who fell one point short of unseating Malinowski in 2020, stands to be more successful in the 2022 midterms. Kean has already announced he’ll challenge Malinowski again.
Smith who is serving his 21st term, has said he will seek another term. He was the only Republican to win a congressional race in New Jersey in 2018, and the 4th District is likely to become even more solidly Republican.
State legislative boundaries will be redrawn by a commission in March. A decade ago, Princeton was moved from District 14 to District 16. Assemblyman Reed Gusciora was the Democratic party’s sacrificial lamb at the time. Rather than face a tough Republican challenge in the district that has since flipped to favor Democrats, he moved to Trenton in order to retain his seat. He later left the Assembly to become the mayor of Trenton.