The Green Papers: News

NEW JERSEY Primary Election Debacle
Wednesday, April 18, 2001

The New Jersey Legislature will be meeting sometime later this week into early next week to consider whether or not to move the New Jersey Primary back two weeks to Tuesday 19 June... the reason is a Republican court challenge to a new legislative reapportionment map that was approved by the state's Reapportionment Commission this past 11 April; the papers filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit by the state's GOP claims the new map hurts minorities and minority candidates for the Legislature (though the probability that the new reapportionment may also help Democrats- though unmentioned in the Republicans' filing- is yet another factor, I am sure)... the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to take up the matter on 18 April and intends to hear the case beginning Monday 23 April but it is very clear that any temporary injunction against implementation of the new legislative reapportionment plan will force the state's primary for candidates the State Legislature to be pushed back from its originally scheduled date of Tuesday 5 June in case the new reapportionment map has to be replaced...

The difficulty is in whether or not to also move the Gubernatorial Primary back two weeks as well... acting Governor Donald DiFrancesco, who is a Republican candidate for the full 4-year term as Governor, is thought to favor moving the legislative primaries to 19 June while keeping the primary for Governor on 5 June (DiFrancesco- who remains State Senate President for the duration of his service as acting Governor and, hence, is still the Republican leader in the Legislature- is in a primary battle with outgoing Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler, a rising star in the New Jersey GOP; it is thought that adding an extra two weeks to the gubernatorial primary campaign will hurt DiFrancesco)... however, many Republicans among the majority the Legislature- fearing that the second of two separate primaries (a legislative primary not being directly tied to the gubernatorial one) will produce even lower turnout than usual (primaries in New Jersey are known for their woefully low turnout to begin with) and make it quite a bit easier for challenging candidates for the State Senate and Assembly to upset those candidates endorsed by regular party insiders- favor holding both the gubernatorial primary and legislative primaries on the same, later, date of 19 June, assuming a decision by the Federal Courts overturning the new legislative reapportionment map should make such a change of legislative primary date necessary... STAY TUNED!!!

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