Redistricting Aftermath: Potential Member Vs. Member Battles
Now that the Pa. Supreme Court has cemented the new state House and Senate maps, lawmakers must look to 2014 – and in some cases at each other. Here are the potential races between incumbent legislators.
SD-38. Sen. Jim Ferlo (D) vs. Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R). Ferlo has represented his Pittsburgh-based district since 2003. But he is losing all but a handful of voters in the city in exchange for the deep red suburbs of Allegheny County’s North Hills. Those areas are presently represented by Vulakovich, who won the seat once occupied by incarcerated ex-Sen. Jane Orie (R). The district moved to Monroe County in northeast Pa. 68% of voters in the new district are already in Vulakovich’s district, while Ferlo keeps only 25% of his voters.
HD-3. Ryan Bizzarro (D) vs Greg Lucas (R). This is the battle of the freshmen. Last year Bizzarro, 28, replaced longtime Rep. John Hornaman (D) and Lucas, 53, replaced Rep. John Evans (R). The district contains part of the city of Erie and the county down to Edinboro. It’s a Dem district in registration and performance and Lucas would have the uphill battle. Voters in the new district are 84% Bizzarro’s constituents and just 16% Lucas’s. Evans’ district moved to Berks County.
HD-36. Erin Molchany (D) vs. Harry Readshaw (D). He’s been in office 18 years, she’s been in office 4 months. Now, they may do battle over the newly drawn district based in Pittsburgh’s south side. Molchany, 36, won her seat after a complicated primary in the wake of a special election last year. She campaigned against the party when she won in 2012 and she’s been raising money in the past few months. Will she challenge Readshaw, 71? It looks likely. He has the upper hand: 72% of voters in the new district are already his, while just 21% live in Molchany’s district. The Allegheny County district moved east to Allentown.
HD-71/72/73. Cambria craziness. Things could get complicated if all 4 lawmakers seek re-election, especially if one of them is willing to move. State Rep. Tommy Sankey (R) of Clearfield won the seat of retired Rep. Bud George (D). That district was essentially renumbered from 74 to 73. Sankey keeps 73.5% of the voters who elected him, and would be a solid candidate in the GOP-leaning district. HD-74 was shipped off to Chester County. That leaves Dem Reps. Bryan Barbin, Frank Burns and Gary Haluska. Option A: Burns and Haluska now live in HD-72 and have a primary. Option B: Haluska turns his sights north to take on Sankey. 16.5% of Sankey’s new voters are Haluska’s current ones. Option C: Burns moves south to challenge Barbin. Voters in new HD-72 come 54.8% from Haluska’s current district and 42.9% from Burns’ current district, meaning Burns is at a disadvantage at first blush in that primary. But he’d have a tough time against Barbin, too, who keeps 82.5% of his current voters in new HD-71. Option D: Haluska chooses to retire. Barbin, 56, and Burns, 38, won their seats in 2008. Halusa, 63, was elected in 1994.
HD-112. Frank Farina (D) vs. Kevin Haggerty (D). This primary would pit two Lackawanna County freshmen against each other. Both were elected last year after winning contested primaries against well known opponents, so if they both go all it will be a race to watch. Farina’s HD-115 is being sent south to Monroe County and his district merged with Haggerty’s. 49% of registered Democrats in the newly drawn 112th are Haggerty’s current voters. 43% reside in Farina’s current district.
HD-174. Ed Neilson (D) vs. John Sabatina (D). Who will northeast Philly Democrats support? On paper, the district looks better for Sabatina, 43, who won his special election in 2006. 53% of the registered Democrats in the newly drawn 174th live in Sabatina’s current district. Neilson, 50, won a special election for his seat just last year. Only 25% of Dems in the new district are his current constituents. His district was moved to York County. But Neilson is closely aligned with the IBEW Local 98 union which wields considerable clout in the city.