New Jersey 4th District
An invisible and not-well-defined line divides North Jersey and South Jersey. North of the line people watch New York television stations, eat hero sandwiches, and root for the Yankees. South of the line they watch Philadelphia television, eat hoagies, and root for the Phillies. The state capital of Trenton lies south of the line, which passes east somewhere around Six Flags Great Adventure and Wild Safari in the Pine Barrens and heads southeast past Lakewood and Bricktown to the little village of Mantoloking on the Jersey shore. But on both sides of the line a stronger New Jersey identity has developed over the last two decades. The big cities—New York and Philadelphia—are not all that close, particularly when traffic is heavy, which is often. And the economy of central New Jersey has its own special character, with big pharmaceutical companies and Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force Base. New Jersey politics is also centered in Trenton. The city has been a manufacturing mecca since the 19th century, with the Lenox and Boehm china factories and the old Roebling ironworks, which produced parts for many of our great bridges (hence the sign on a span across the Delaware River that boasts, “Trenton Makes, the World Takes”). But much of this area is also spanking new, with growing subdivisions just west of the shore and office buildings stretching north from Princeton. Even Trenton has had some growth. Preservationists are eyeing its antique buildings and, long the only state capital without a hotel, it now has the Marriott Lafayette Yard Conference Hotel.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 4th Congressional District of New Jersey covers much of the central part of the state. It stretches from the eastern part of Trenton to Mantoloking, Point Pleasant, Sea Girt, and Spring Lake on the shore. The district includes the old colonial town of Burlington on the Delaware River and the new spacious subdivisions of Colts Neck just west of the shore, as well as what was Lakehurst Naval Air Station, where the German zeppelin Hindenburg exploded while docking in 1937. Population movement has been eastward, away from the old neighborhoods of Trenton and its close-in suburbs and toward the new subdivisions of coastal and exurban Ocean County, which grew 10% from 2000 to 2007. Some towns have curtailed sprawl with laws to preserve farmland and open space. Politically, it is a mixed bag. The Trenton area has long been solidly Democratic, but the Pine Barrens and Jersey shore have leaned Republican. George W. Bush won this district 56%-44% in 2004, and Republican John McCain won it four years later with 52% of the vote. Democrat Barack Obama got 47% in 2008.