BREAKING: Farmer chooses GOP map
By Darryl R. Isherwood | December 23rd, 2011 - 8:48am
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A source reports congressional redistricting commission 13th member John Farmer Jr. has chosen the map submitted by the GOP.

Farmer notified commission members this morning and the official vote is slated for 10 a.m.

The Republican map combines portions of Districts 5, 8 and 9 to make two districts, including one that will likely pit Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman against Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett.

According to a source familiar with the map, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the combined district will favor Garrett by four points based on past election performance.  

Much of the Bergen County portions of Rothman's District 9 have been moved to District 8, represented by U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell.

U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance is a big winner under the new map as District 7, which had leaned Republican is now solidly Republican.  District 4, represented by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith also will remain solidly Republican, but will be realigned to include a larger portion of Monmouth County.

Districts 12, represented by U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, and 6, represented by U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, will remain Democratic districts.  

In the south, District 3, represented by U.S. Rep Jon Runyan, will lean further toward the GOP.  According to a source, the map should produce a 6 Republican and 6 Democrat delegation but could go 7 to 5 in favor of Democrats should Garrett lose.

With Rothman the odd man out after the four-day round of musical chairs it's unclear where he will go from here.  Sources speculated Thursday that if he chooses not to face Garrett in a GOP favorable district, he could decide to challenge Pascrell in a primary, or seek an escape route of some other kind.

Both men are well funded with war chests of over $1.5 million.  Garrett is the most conservative member of the delegation with strong Tea Party support.  Rothman, who counts strong support among the Jewish community, was the first New Jersey politico to throw his support behind President Obama in the 2008 presidential race.

Democrats had hoped to convince Farmer that the combined district should be evenly distributed and give each man a chance to win.

 

 

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