Here's what the new Pa. congressional map could look like

Erika Holt
February 11, 2018

Democratic appointees have a 5-2 majority on the court.

Wolf will review the new map over the weekend, though Democrats in the statehouse urged him to reject the proposal, claiming Republican legislators drew the new lines without outside consultations.

The court declared the 2011 Republican-crafted map unconstitutional on January 22 and directed the General Assembly to propose a new one and send it to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

Mimi McKenzie, legal director of the Public Interest Law Center, one of the groups challenging the existing congressional boundaries in court, said her organization would also review the submitted maps. The state's congressional districts are considered among the most gerrymandered in the United States. "We did not run that data".

The Republican leaders of the Pennsylvania legislature on Friday night submitted a new statewide map of congressional districts to the state's Democratic governor.

Dolan said a new map is not a permanent solution to creating fair districts.

Faced with a midnight deadline imposed by the state's highest court, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, and House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Marshall, submitted a map that contains substantial changes in the shape of districts encompassing the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

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The Republican leaders said their map splits only 32 counties and municipalities, 62 fewer than the 2011 map.

"The districts are compact".

"The proposed map looks gerrymandered to protect Republican incumbents and remove several Democratic candidates from the district that have been running in it including myself", Herschel told Newswatch 16. "Confusion for voters has been minimized".

They forwarded the map and other materials to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who has until Thursday to tell the justices if he supports it. If not, the court has indicated it may develop one of its own.

Republicans have held 13 of the state's 18 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives since the current map went into effect for the 2012 election, despite Pennsylvania's status as a closely divided swing state.

"This map took into account information provided by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in their majority opinion, which we received two days ago", Scarnati and Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai wrote in a letter to Wolf. It will be used for the May 15 primary, but not for the March 13 special election to fill a vacant congressional seat in southwestern Pennsylvania. President Donald Trump won 12 of the 18 districts in the 2016 presidential election, becoming the first Republican to carry the state since 1988. Wolf said he would consider his options if the map were not the result of a "bipartisan process".

The newly-drawn political map was ordered on January 22 by the state Supreme Court, which invalidated the existing congressional district boundaries as an illegal gerrymander created by the Republican-controlled state legislature.

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