New Pennsylvania Congressional Map Splits Centre County
03:58, Feb 21, 2018
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The state Supreme Court's new map of congressional districts places Mercer County and most of the old 3rd District into the new 16th District that hugs the OH border from Erie to Lawrence counties and includes the western half of Butler County.
Justices gave the Democratic administration of Gov. Tom Wolff and Republican legislators a tight deadline on redrawing a new map.
Republicans are expected to challenge the map in federal court and argue that legislatures and governors, not courts, have the constitutional responsibility to draw congressional maps.
That makes for a more compact district compared against the current 15th - which covers Lehigh County and part of Northampton but also stretches western almost to Harrisburg.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court declined to stop the state court's order to redraw congressional districts.
Some communities, including Hazle Township in Luzerne County and Smithfield Township in Monroe County, are split between two districts.
"This new map will finally allow Pennsylvanians the opportunity to choose their elected officials and have a congressional delegation that more accurately reflects the political desires of the people", Holder said.
Let's take a closer look at the new map, taking into account the fact that Democrats hold about a 7-point lead on the generic congressional ballot.
Although this bill is an excellent first step toward separating politics and redistricting efforts, it fails to adequately remove the partisan divide, essentially granting the governor's party an automatic majority on the commission.
The previous map, shown below, split 28 counties.
Across Pennsylvania districts have been reshaped and renumbered.
As the new plan is released, sitting congressmen, dozens of would-be candidates and millions of voters are beginning to sort out which district they live in barely a month before the candidates' deadline to submit paperwork to run.
The Second District previously contained portions of Center City, West Philadelphia, Northwest Philadelphia and a section of Montgomery County under Democratic Rep. Dwight Evans.
The new map won't apply to March's special election in southwestern Pennsylvania's 18th District.
The map produced by the court - with assistance from a Stanford law professor - isn't yet the end of the story.
MEYER: After running out of time to get legislative votes on new maps, House and Senate Republicans, House Democrats, Senate Democrats, Governor Wolf and several other parties to the case submitted completely separate proposals to the court. Under the old map, for example, Hillary Clinton won six of the state's 18 congressional districts. Washington is one of 22 states that does not give control of redistricting to the Legislature, meaning that in a majority of them the process is exclusively in the hands of the ruling party.
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