The new plan includes 15 split counties and 17 split municipalities, Scarnati said. He noted that the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas would have a concentrated handful of districts, while the map splits areas surrounding Reading and Harrisburg. In 2016, 12 congressional districts voted for Republican President Trump and six were carried by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Not only that, but the vote margins in each district would be virtually identical. That would have been true under the proposed map as well, according to an Inquirer/Daily News analysis. Jake Corman, R-Centre, state House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, state Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati, R-Jefferson, and state Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, lead a news conference after Republican leaders engineered passage of state budget, liquor privatization and pension bills, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa.
Some - if not many - of the finer points of the old map that have drawn criticism were addressed.
Democrats hope to take control of the U.S. House in elections this fall, and their path to a majority runs through moderate turf in places like the Philadelphia suburbs. The new map is unlikely to change that. "Compared to the previous decade's plan, it was an improvement in measures like compactness and respecting county and municipal boundaries", Amos said.
The GOP-drawn map passed in 2011 has been a political victor for Republicans, giving them a 13-5 advantage in three straight elections in a state with more registered Democrats than Republicans.
Members of Congress, dozens of first-time candidates and millions of registered voters may find themselves living in a new district, a month before the deadline to file paperwork to run in congressional primaries. Eventually, the case made it's way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
The process of redrawing district lines to give an advantage to one party over another is called "gerrymandering".
The plaintiffs aren't buying it. The new map "exhibits extreme pro-Republican bias that mathematically can only have happened through an intentional effort". Whatever map is used in Pennsylvania could have a significant affect on who wins the House of Representatives in November. If they can not reach an agreement, then the court will create a map. "It might not be as precise as getting exact party breakdown predictions, as is possible with redistricting software loaded up with those data, but it doesn't guarantee that the process was partisan-blind". Under the new proposal that would likely still be the case.
Now that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has thrown out the current congressional districts as unconstitutional, the Legislature, the governor and the court must now decide to implement a short-term fix or to establish a game-changing precedent.
The top House and Senate Republicans produced a map of the state's congressional districts late Friday that's now under review by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.
Staffers for Scarnati and Turzai said Saturday that congressional candidates and even incumbents were minor factors in comparison with criteria the Supreme Court outlined: keeping districts compact, minimizing the number of counties and towns split, and the contiguity of the districts. Wolf has until Thursday, Feb. 15 to approve a map and submit it to the court for consideration.
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