Brick residents will no longer call Rep. Christopher H. Smith their congressman after the 2012 election cycle.
For the 2012 election cycle, Brick will transition from New Jersey's fourth congressional district to the third, following the decision last week of a bipartisan committee tasked with redrawing New Jersey's congressional maps. That means Jon Runyan, a freshman Republican congressman whose district currently includes Toms River and the majority of Ocean County's municipalities, will represent Brick as well.
Brick, whose residents traditionally vote Republican in congressional elections, will reportedly solidify Runyan's chances of re-election, especially after Democrat-leaning Cherry Hill – a large suburban community like Brick – was moved out of the district.
Smith, a veteran Republican who has served in the House since 1980, has represented Brick since he won re-election in the 1992 election cycle, the first year a map based on the 1990 census was used. The current redistricting process is the product of the 2010 census map, which forced New Jersey to give up one congressional district. The Garden State's delegation will drop from seven House members to six next year.
Under the new map, Smith will represent Point Pleasant Borough, Point Pleasant Beach, Manchester, Lakehurst and Plumsted in Ocean County and a number of towns in Monmouth County that were previously in the fourth congressional district, represented by Frank Pallone, a Democrat. A number of municipalities in southern Ocean County, including Stafford Township and the communities on Long Beach Island, will transition out of the third district and into the second district, which is represented by Frank LoBiondo, a Republican.
"Obviously, we're sad to lose Chris Smith," said Brick Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis. "He's been a great congressman to Brick."
With Runyan's re-election chances looking good, Acropolis said he's looking forward to working with the new congressman.
"Jon Runyan will do many of the same things Chris did, meet with the local delegations, and find out what's important to voters here," said Acropolis.
Runyan, 38, is a former professional football player who lives in Mount Laurel. He maintains a local office in Toms River.