Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 15
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
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As Redistricting Changes Legislative Map, Princetons Are Moved Into 16th District

Dilshanie Perera

With the new map of the State’s 40 legislative districts having been revealed earlier this month, both Princeton Borough and Township will see changes in their representation at the statehouse in January.

Now moved to the 16th district, the Princetons will enter a legislative area that has typically elected Republican representatives to serve as state assemblymen and senators. Another consequence of the shift is that Princeton will no longer be represented by State Senator Shirley K. Turner, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, and Assemblyman Bonnie Watson Coleman.

After the changes were announced, some legislators found that their homes were no longer located in the districts they had been representing. With deadlines for filing ballots for the June primary election nearing, and in anticipation of more contests in November, representatives had to decide whether to move or whether to begin campaigning in an entirely new district ahead of the primaries.

Mr. Gusciora, who is a Democrat, found that with the redistricting his recently-purchased home in Princeton Township is no longer in the 15th District, where he has been an assemblyman for the past 16 years. To remain in the 15th, he is putting his house up for sale and relocating his residence to Trenton.

The process of redrawing New Jersey’s districts comes under consideration every 10 years. Based on recent census data, each district was zoned to have a population of approximately 220,000 residents.

A redistricting commission comprised of five Republicans and five Democrats attempted to redraw the map beginning early this year, but was split along party lines in their support of the new legislative geography.

Princeton resident Alan Rosenthal was appointed in March by the state Supreme Court in order to cast an independent tie-breaking vote, and the map put forth by state Democrats was chosen to be the final redistricting map.

Incumbent State Senator and Republican Christopher “Kip” Bateman and Assemblyman Peter J. Biondi, also of the Republican Party, are up for reelection in the 16th District in November. A second district seat in the General Assembly is also open since current representative Denise M. Coyle is now in a different district.

Pending primary results, Princeton residents will likely see Mr. Bateman and Mr. Biondi’s names on the ballot in November’s election.

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