We've got a decision in the once-a-decade battle over legislative district lines, and it appears the Democrats have handed the gov a major defeat. A nonpartisan arbiter has reportedly chosen the Democrats' version of "the map" detailing how voting districts should be carved up.
The very top political leaders in the state have been debating these maps, with near-zero transparency, for days on end at a hotel in New Brunswick. Christie, in a move that political observers say is absolutely unprecedented, even showed up at the hotel three different times to push the Republican plan. Dodging the press on the way in and out of the hotel, the gov met with both Republicans and the neutral tie-breaking redistricting commissioner to push the case for a more Republican-friendly legislative map.
Why does he care so much? The Democrats control both houses of the Legislature. With the Republicans' map, Christie could have picked up more Republican legislators in the November election and then, as he likes to say, you would really see him run New Jersey.
The official vote is tomorrow. Court appeals are possible. But read what sources are saying here.
Jay Lassiter, liberal blogger and activist at Blue Jersey, declared victory tonight in an email blast and called Christie the "big loser":
Governor Christie's ham-handed efforts to interject himself into the process have backfired. Governor Christie is the big loser in this battle. Given how deeply involved the Governor was in this process, it's hard to imagine the Democrats carving out a better map for the next ten years. [New Jersey Democratic] Chairman John Wisniewski should be applauded for this steady leadership.
With an eye on November's election, the Democrats will be united, fired up and ready to fight to increase our majorities in both houses.