Just days before nominating petitions are about to begin to circulate, the PA Supreme Court today unveiled the much-awaited map of the state’s eighteen Congressional Districts in response to the Court’s recent ruling on partisan political gerrymandering. Here is the new map:
This map, which will be in effect for the Primary Election on May 15, 2018, dramatically differs from the map struck down as unconstitutional last month. The district numbers have also changed in many areas.
While the political calculus of this new map is still up for debate, Democrats will likely see improved prospects in some of the new districts, specifically the 17th (Beaver/Allegheny), 16th (Erie/Crawford/Mercer/Lawrence/Butler), 1st (Bucks), 10th (Dauphin/Cumberland/York), 4th (Montgomery), and 7th (Lehigh/Northampton).
By comparison, the new 14th District (Washington/Greene/Fayette/Westmoreland) appears to be much of the old 18th District minus Allegheny County. This will likely greatly complicate matters with the pending March 13 Special Election between Conor Lamb and Rick Saccone to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Tim Murphy, as it appears that Lamb no longer lives in the district (and until we get a closer look, it’s possible that Saccone may not live their either). Expect plenty of speculation and hand-wringing as campaigns are now forced to adapt to this new reality with virtually no time to prepare.
And of course, don’t expect the Republicans to go quietly into the blue night. Experts predict that State Legislative GOP leaders will challenge this new map in Federal Court on the basis that the right to draw Congressional Districts is solely a function of the State Legislature and not the courts.
Any way you look at it, the 2018 midterms just got a whole lot more interesting in the Keystone State.