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

Wolf administration directs that all new voting systems must provide paper record

The plaintiffs who won a 5-to-2 state Supreme Court decision last month throwing out the map said Saturday the Republican leaders' proposal divides populous southeastern counties for partisan gain.

The Republican-controlled Assembly was ordered by the court to submit a redistricting plan by February 9, and it gave Wolf - a Democrat - until February 15 to approve the plan. The court ruling came after voters from each congressional district and the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit in summer 2017 alleging the state's 2011 congressional map is unconstitutional.

"While the court's order did not appear to allow for two individuals to draw a map on behalf of the entire General Assembly, Gov. Wolf will review Speaker Turzai and President Scarnati's submission in consultation with the experts retained by the administration to determine his next course of action", Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott said in a statement late Friday.

In the court majority's 139-page opinion, Justice Debra Todd wrote that no municipalities in Pennsylvania were divided among congressional districts before 1992; 68 municipalities were split in the 6-year-old Republican-drawn map.

Gerald Shuster, a professor of political rhetoric at the University of Pittsburgh, expects there will be a lot of horse trading in Harrisburg this week as Wolf and Republicans attempt to hammer out an agreement on the map.

The new map is the result of a January 22 order from Pennsylvania's Supreme Court, which invalidated the existing district boundaries as an illegal gerrymander by the Republican-controlled legislature.

"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. That would have been true under the proposed map as well, according to an Inquirer/Daily News analysis.

Up until now, Democrat Judy Herschel has been campaigning in the 10th Congressional District. Meanwhile, boundaries drawn by Republicans after the 2010 census to favor Republicans are expected to become less GOP-friendly, giving Democrats nationally a boost in their quest to take control of the U.S. House.

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The decision by the Democratic majority on the court to throw out the map has raised Democrats' hopes that different districts could help them flip enough seats to retake the majority in Congress. Pat Meehan's 7th District, labeled "Goofy Kicking Donald Duck" - faces an overhaul, perhaps by packing tendrils now snaking through five counties closer to its longtime anchor of Delaware County.

A particularly contorted district - Republican Rep.

"The districts are compact". He said that he had "zero input" on the map and that the location of Houlahan's home made it likely she might be pushed into a redrawn Seventh District.

If not, the Democratic court majority said the court would develop its own map. Houlahan, he added, "can still run in the district against me".

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D., Allegheny), pointing to that move as an example, said Saturday the new boundaries "are another case of overreach" by the GOP. Wolf said he would consider his options if the map was not the result of a "bipartisan process".

But Democrats quickly attacked it as a "naked partisan gerrymander". "They've chosen to encircle Philadelphia, and that gives a very packed Democratic district, and they've chosen to draw a line down some of these other population centers".

Under the map proposed by Scarnati and Turzai, Democratic candidate Conor Lamb would be taken from the 18th District and placed in the 14th, pitting him against Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle.

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