New Jersey Democrats’ Redistricting Plan Would Wipe Out GOP, Leader Says

(Bloomberg) -- A plan to transform how New Jersey draws its legislative districts would keep Democrats in power permanently, a veteran Republican leader said.

A bill backed by Democrats, who control the governor’s office as well as the Assembly and Senate, seeks to put redistricting in the control of a 12-member panel, chosen in part by legislative leaders. Currently, those appointments are by Democratic and Republican state party chairmen. Committee members every 10 years adjust districts according to U.S. Census statistics in a process that relies on partisan horse-trading.

“This is a Democratic plan for job security, and the security to keep Democrats in the majority forever in New Jersey,” Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, a Republican from Westfield, said during a phone call with reporters. No Assembly Republicans will vote for the bill, he said.

Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 931,000, according to state data as of Nov. 5. Unaffiliated voters, who make up the bulk, typically help sway state and national elections toward Democrats.

Governor Phil Murphy, who in January succeeded the term-limited Republican Chris Christie, hasn’t said whether he supports the change. If it passes next month, the bill wouldn’t take the usual course to his desk for his approval or veto. Rather, the question whether to change the state constitution would be put to voters on a ballot.

That amendment would “permanently tip the scales in favor of Democrats,” said Senator Declan O’Scanlon, a Republican from Little Silver.

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