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Wolf rejects GOP redistricting plan; court may impose new map, Monday

15 February 2018

The new map replaces the 2011 map which the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional.

"The analysis by my team shows that, like the 2011 map, the map submitted to my office by Republican leaders is still a gerrymander", Wolf said in a statement.

The Republicans control both houses of the Pennsylvania legislature, and the GOP leaders of each house have argued that the control over redistricting of congressional seats is assigned by the U.S. Constitution to the legislature, so the state court had no authority to get involved.

Pennsylvania lurched another step closer to non-gerrymandered congressional districts last Friday.

The map by House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati would reduce dozens of municipal or county divisions while keeping almost 70 percent of state residents in their existing districts.

However, Kelly would lose territory in Crawford, Lawrence and Clarion counties.

Hatfield Township is the only portion of the 8th Congressional District in Montgomery County, with the rest located in Bucks County, meaning Hatfield voters are only 12 percent of the constituency for U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, R-8th Dist.

In Clarion County, Kelly would lose all his turf which would transfer into Thompson's 5th District.

Their map splits 15 counties as opposed to 23 in the 2011 map, and 17 municipalities instead of 66.

A redrawn map of Pennsylvania congressional districts, as proposed by GOP leaders in the Legislature.

"A few weeks ago, when we started talking about this, we didn't at all anticipate that it would be on the heels of a Pennsylvania supreme court decision, so we could not have timed that any better", he said.

A mathematics professor at Tufts University in Boston, Duchin dabbles in writing congressional district maps.

Some of those lopsided results - such as in the 6th and 7th districts - are in Southeast Pennsylvania where the voter registration trend has been moving away from Republicans and towards Democrats. "At the end of the day still is in their interests, which makes sense, because they drew this map without any consultation from the Democratic Party", O'Connell said.

A Stanford Professor already has been retained by the Supreme Court to consult on the redraw of the Congressional map.

If the state court agrees with the governor's opposition, the court itself is likely to take on the task of drafting new election boundaries.

In a letter to Wolf, House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody and his Senate counterpart, Jay Costa, implored him to reject the map outright, arguing the court's order required the Pennsylvania General Assembly to submit a map, and "the presiding officers [Turzai and Scarnati] are not the General Assembly".

"Each map has a different goal: One is created to encourage competitive elections, for example, and another to maximize the number of majority-minority districts".

"If they want to take that feedback and use it to amend what they've done, that's really up to them", he said. "Produce your map and we will put it up for a vote".

Wolf rejects GOP redistricting plan; court may impose new map, Monday