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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Releases New Congressional Map That Hurts Republican Party, But Not By Much

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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out the congressional map passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature and Republican Governor Tom Corbett on January 22 and this Monday, the court released their own map.

Gerrymandering has been around for several decades in the United States. It was first coined by the Boston Gazette in March 1812. Both major political parties gerrymandered districts.

Gerrymandering has become a controversial topic in recent years after the Republican Party’s wave elections in 1994 and 2010. Before 1994, the Democratic Party controlled the redistricting process in the overwhelming majority of states.

After the 2010 Census, Pennsylvania lost a seat and the Republican Party had full control of the redistricting process. As a result, the GOP had a 13-5 control of the delegation.

The new map, produced by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, favors the Democratic Party, but not by much.

The old map was an 11-7 Trump map and a 13-5 Romney map. According to the New York Times’ Nate Cohn, the new one is a 10-8 Trump map and 9-9 Romney/Obama map.

The good news is that while Democrats have more potential, Republicans also have potential to keep their 13-5 map.

Professor Brian Amos, an elections expert, calculated the data for other elections. Republican Senator Pat Toomey, who only won statewide by 1 point in 2016, actually won 13 districts.

There are three Clinton-Toomey districts: the 1st (Bucks County-Brian Fitzpatrick), 6th (Chester County-Ryan Costello), and 7th (Lehigh Valley-Charlie Dent). All three are currently held by Republican Representatives.

Fitzpatrick’s old district (8th) was won by Trump 48.2%-48.0%. His new district (1st) was won by Clinton 49%-47%.

Costello’s old district (6th) was won by Clinton 48.2%-47.6%. His new district (6th) was won by Clinton 52%-43%. The district is still competitive and winnable for a Republican.

Charlie Dent’s current district (15th) was won by Trump 52%-44%. The new Lehigh Valley-based district (7th) was won by Clinton 49%-48%. Dent’s not running for re-election, but a Republican can still win this district.

Democratic Congressman Matt Cartwright, who currently represents a Trump-Clinton blue-collar swing district, still represents a very Trumpian R+1 district, according to Dave Wasserman.

Toomey barely won Pennsylvania’s 8th, 50.2%-49.8%, in a two-way matchup. Meanwhile, Democrats’ Shapiro (AG), DePasquale (Auditor), and Torsella (state Treasurer) all won the 8th district. Cartwright is still extremely vulnerable.

If Republicans want to keep their 13-5 majority, which is still possible, they will need to defeat Cartwright in the 8th while winning the Clinton-Toomey districts.

Additionally, they will need to keep the newly and slightly competitive 17th district (Republican Congressman Keith Rothfus of the western Pittsburgh suburbs) and potentially competitive 10th district (GOP Rep. Scott Perry of York County). However, both Trump and Toomey won the 10th by double-digit margins, which makes the district only competitive in a Democratic wave.

The biggest loss is the Pat Meehan-Delaware County Republican seat. Meehan wasn’t running for re-election, but he represented a Clinton-Romney swing district. Clinton defeated Trump 49%-47% in Meehan’s old (7th) district. In the new Delaware County (5th) district, Clinton defeated Trump 63%-34%, making it a safe Democratic seat.

 

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