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New Pennsylvania Congressional Map - Philadelphia Area

Old/New Pennsylvania Congressional Map Comparison – Philadelphia Area
(Click on map to see larger)

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 22, 2018 — A day after the court-imposed Pennsylvania congressional map was instituted, much action is occurring in and around the new districts. A more in-depth look at the now available political numbers, for example, tells a somewhat different story than the one gleaned from simply looking at the new map configuration.

Before discussing the historical numbers and trends, several non-mathematical happenings also transpired.

First, as promised, Republicans filed a federal lawsuit against the new plan, a complaint that largely attacks the state Supreme Court for usurping legislative duties, and less about the districts themselves. The Republicans also make the sub-point that no legal challenge from any party had been leveled against the previous map even though the map cleared the legislative process and stood through three complete election cycles.

The GOP is asking the federal court system to stay the new map until the appropriate judicial panel hears their case. Such a rendering would reinstate the 2011 plan for the current election cycle. Since the revised congressional candidate filing deadline is March 20, we can expect the ruling authorities, most likely the US Supreme Court, to quickly signal an intent.

Assuming the new map stands, Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia), whose Montgomery County-anchored 13th District was split into three southeastern Pennsylvania districts, announced that he will run in District 2. The new PA-2 is predominantly a downtown Philadelphia district that features a voting history where Republicans don’t even reach 30 percent of the vote. This leaves new District 4, where the other large section of his 13th District now resides, as an open seat. The new 4th, where Republicans fare better than in the 2nd but still don’t come close to winning, will elect a freshman Democrat if the court map survives its legal challenge.

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Pennsylvania Map Released

New Pennsylvania Congressional Map | Source: Pennsylvania State Supreme Court

New Pennsylvania Congressional Map | Source: Pennsylvania State Supreme Court

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 21, 2018 — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court placed into law a new congressional map Monday, thereby completing their assumption of legislative redistricting duties, and with it bringing questions pertaining to institutional balance of powers.

The map is a radical reconfiguration of the Pennsylvania plan that has been in place since the 2012 election. The re-draw even went so far as to re-number virtually all of the districts, thus changing the state’s historical political complexion. It is probable that Republicans will file a new lawsuit against this map in federal court, with the goal of getting it to the US Supreme Court. The high court has stayed similar recent redistricting decisions in Michigan, North Carolina, and Texas in anticipation of the Wisconsin political gerrymandering decision, so it is possible the same could happen here.

Comparing the new districts to the current map, President Trump carried 12 of the state’s 18 CDs under the previous congressional plan, though Republicans hold 13 of the 18 districts in the US House. Under the new plan, President Trump would have won 10 of the 18 districts.

The Daily Kos Elections political analysis site released political and geographic data for the new 18 districts. It is probable that Democrats would gain three to five seats under this new plan. A summary of their findings follows:

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The Musical Chairs Begin

Maryland Senate

Rep. Donna Edwards’ (D-MD-4) announcement that she will run for the Senate launches the Maryland political chess game. As we already know, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8) is officially in the race and moving quickly toward establishing himself. Van Hollen jump-started the political time line with his formal declaration at the end of last week, and now Edwards is quickly following suit.

Seeing two DC area Maryland politicians – Edwards in Prince Georges County and Van Hollen hailing from Montgomery County – in the open Senate race, we can soon expect a move from the Baltimore contingent. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake personally re-confirmed that she is “seriously considering” running for the Senate. Edwards’ presence also forces Baltimore Rep. Elijah Cummings’ (D-MD-7) hand, now that it is clear he will not be the only African American House member to potentially join the statewide effort. Part of Edwards’ goal in so definitively announcing is an attempt to encapsulate Cummings, making it clear that his path to the Senate will not be an easy one.
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Reid Endorses Van Hollen; Strickland Ties Portman

Maryland Senate

In a surprising development, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has already given his personal endorsement to Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8), the recently announced Maryland senatorial candidate. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) announced last week that she will retire at the end of the current Congress, launching what promises to be a very crowded Democratic primary to replace her.

Van Hollen has been on the inside of the House Democratic leadership almost since his original election in 2002, and he is known as a highly ambitious politician. Therefore, through his positioning within the House conference, the Montgomery County congressman was able to develop a relationship with Sen. Reid. But, it is still unusual that a Senate leader would involve himself so quickly in a contested primary when so many Democratic delegation members appear inclined to run. Speculation continues that Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD-4), for example, is just days away from announcing her own candidacy.

In other Maryland news, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz (D) announced that he will not enter the Senate race. Kamenetz had been prominently mentioned as a possible candidate in the early speculation immediately after Sen. Mikulski’s announcement.
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It’s Official for Candidates in PA, OR

Two more states now have official 2014 candidates as office seekers in Pennsylvania and Oregon made their political intentions official this week.


Gov. Tom Corbett (R) is facing one Republican primary challenger, while six Democrats will battle for their party’s nomination to be decided May 20. The eventual Democrat standard bearer will have a strong chance of unseating Corbett, who continues to post some of the worst job approval ratings in the country.

With businessman Tom Wolf out to an early lead after unleashing a major positive and clever media buy, Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA-13), state Treasurer Rob McCord and three others who comprise the Democratic field are forced to play catch-up.

With no US Senate contest in the Keystone  Continue reading >