New Jersey 9th District
The George Washington Bridge, one of several wondrous suspension bridges completed in America in the 1930s, strides the Hudson River, its west tower almost up against the green cliffs of New Jersey’s Palisades. It is one of the glories of modern engineering, enabling people and goods to be transported through the irregular terrain of metropolitan New York—tidal rivers and cliffs and broad expanses of swamp. For a century, the dramatic beauty of the Palisades contrasted with the sprawl of the Hackensack River Valley and the Jersey Meadowlands not far to the west, which conveyed the image of New Jersey for many—a landscape of gas station signs, oil tank farms, truck terminals, and 12 lanes of New Jersey Turnpike. The Meadowlands, once 8,400 acres of wetlands and home to thousands of species of animals and plants, was developed in the 1970s. The state built in East Rutherford the Meadowlands Sports Complex—Giants Stadium, where the Giants and Jets play; the Meadowlands Racetrack; the Brendan Byrne Arena, later Continental Airlines Arena. Private development followed—hotels, warehouses, light industry, shopping centers—in what became a small city. Now, a generation later, the state is building a new $1.6 billion stadium at the Meadowlands for the National Football League’s Giants and Jets. The nearby $2 billion Xanadu retail and entertainment center was scheduled to open in late 2009.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 9th Congressional District of New Jersey includes much of the Palisades and the Meadowlands. The scenery here is familiar to fans of the cable television series The Sopranos: Jersey City, Kearny, North Arlington, Lodi, which is home to the fictitious Bada Bing strip club. The 9th takes in the high-rise towers of Fort Lee, Cliffside Park, and fast-growing Edgewater, where dwellers in luxury apartment houses brag about their views of New York City. It goes west and north to the leafy suburbs of Englewood and Teaneck, and southwest to the high land overlooking the Meadowlands and the Passaic River. Old towns like Rutherford have enclaves of Polish-, German-, and Italian-Americans. Blue-collar Palisades Park has Korean-Americans. Teaneck and Englewood are home to middle-class blacks and young, Orthodox Jewish families.
Fairview, Bergenfield, and Hackensack, an old industrial town and the Bergen County seat, are home to growing numbers of Hispanics. The county has about 80% of the district’s voters. This was a growth area in the 1950s and 1960s, as New Yorkers moved out of the city. It lost population in the 1970s and 1980s, as young people moved farther out and left empty nesters behind. Now the population in some towns is rising because of new immigrants. From 2000 to 2007, the Hispanic population in Bergen County grew more than 40% to 130,000. In 2008, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama won 54% of the vote in Bergen, and won the district 61%-38%.