Capitolwire: House Redistricting Nearly Done, Senate Has Sticking Points

Republicans and Democrats in the House have mostly agreed on what the new redistricting map will look like, but the Senate is still up in the air, Capitolwire reports. Here are the scenarios being discussed.

The Legislative Reapportionment Commission is scheduled to meet Thursday.

The initial versions of both maps – which the LRC passed despite conventional wisdom that they favored the GOP – were thrown out by the Pa. Supreme Court in late January due to excess municipal splits. Since then, as it became clear that the maps would not be in place in time for the 2012 election, all sides have moved forward slowly.

Here are some of the map-drawing options, per Capitolwire:

House:

They agreed not to pair Reps. Jesse White, D-Washington, and Nick Kotik, D-Allegheny, to move a seat to a Democratic-voting area of Chester County. Instead, Rep. Bud George’s goofy plan to blame his retirement on Republicans, not on his fatigue, backfired.

Republicans wanted to combine two Democratic areas, Coatesville and West Chester, in one district, to make the district of Rep. Dan Truitt, R-Chester, safer.

Democrats protested, saying that West Chester should remain in Truitt’s seat, which has gone back and forth between parties recently.

Both submitted their maps to McEwen, who ruled for the Democrats.

Senate:

Now that there was no mystery about which GOP senators [Pippy and Orie] would be leaving, and it was clear no Senate Democrats were stepping down, McEwen made it clear he wanted to move only the seats of retiring lawmakers.

It is fairly clear that the Senate will end up disappearing the seat of Orie because McEwen will insist on it.

Democrats are worried about the GOP map which will move Orie’s district to Chester and York on both ends. The GOP map follows the main directive of the Supreme Court – reduce splits of towns, wards and municipalities – much more than the Democratic maps do.

Why? Because it gives the GOP a tactical advantage. The more you reduce splits, the more it makes the seats of Costa and Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Allegheny, not as safe as the Democrats want them to be.

Combine that with the fact that all those districts have to become more Republican – Orie won her district 56 percent to 44 percent while she was under indictment – and Ferlo’s seat, in particular, becomes more competitive.

Plus the GOP plans would make Sen. Elder Vogel, R-Beaver, who won a seat Democrats should essentially never lose, much safer and Democrats don’t want to approve that.

April 10th, 2012 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Redistricting Watch, Top Stories | No Comments