Top 10 Winners and Losers in Pa. Senate Redistricting Plan

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

Jeff Piccola's new "Harrisburg Horseshoe" district

If the preliminary map is adopted without significant changes, Republicans will have a lock on the Pennsylvania Senate for the next decade. PoliticsPA talked with campaign consultants, political operatives and legislative staffers to see which members benefit from the plan, and who doesn’t.

You can view the maps here, and read about some of the specific district changes here.Granted, these are preliminary maps and are subject to change. Subject, but not likely.

We’re currently working on a similar list for the Pa. House. If you have suggestions for who should be on it, please email Sy the member’s name, district number and explanation. Your suggestions will be totally anonymous.

Winners:

Jeff Piccola. In perhaps the starkest example of gerrymandering in either chamber, Piccola’s district now snakes around Harrisburg and its tossup suburbs. His leadership role in pushing the state takeover of Harrisburg, and his high-profile support of school choice, left him ripe for the picking in what was already a favorable district for Democrats.

Kim Ward. Ward impressed party leaders when she won a tossup special election for her Westmoreland County district. Now she’ll represent the southern half of Somerset County as well. Not having to worry about tight re-election campaigns will likely free up her future schedule for bigger and better things.

Elder Vogel. Republicans were initially salivating at rumors that Vogel might retire after just one term. Instead, he’ll be promoted from a moderate to a lean R district by picking up some of the most Republican parts of Butler County.

Rich Kasunic. If you’re going to make Republican districts more red, it stands to reason that some Democratic districts will grow more blue. Fayette County-based Kasunic will shed Somerset County in exchange for much friendlier territory in Greene Counte. He couldn’t have drawn a much better district from himself if he had tried.

Bob Mensch/Lisa Boscola. Mensch gets to unload the Democratic centers of Easton and Emmaus; Boscola gets to pick them up.

Rep. Mario Scavello. He’s on the list and he isn’t even a Senator! (Yet). Republicans emphasized repeatedly that the new Senate district in Monroe County actually gives Democrats the advantage. Fat chance. Scavello’s House district represents a big chunk of the county, and he’d be a strong front runner to win the new Monroe County-based seat.

Losers:

Jim Brewster. You know how they say it’s easier to get a new job if you’re already currently employed? That’s what Sen. Sean Logan likely thought when he saw the writing on the wall for this district and left to work for UMPC. This choice is fairly obvious – Brewster’s district along eastern Allegheny County lost almost the highest percentage of any district in the state, and he’s only served in office since January.

John Wozniak. Welcome to the list of top GOP targets, Senator. Wozniak shed half of Clinton County, Philipsburg and all of Centre County, and more. He picked up the entirety of Bedford County, where voters typically send Republicans to the Pa. Senate by a 2 to 1 margin.

Rob Teplitz. The bottom just fell out from under Teplitz, one of the Senate Dems’ top recruits for 2012. His Act-47-based challenge to Sen. Jeff Piccola is a moot point.

Note: There are fewer downs because there are fewer Senate Dems. Also, many incumbent Democrats will see additional blue voters added to their districts to balance GOP incumbent protection efforts.

Correction: We accidentally wrote Mark in an earlier version, rather than Rep. Mario Scavello’s actual name.

November 2nd, 2011 | Posted in Features, Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Redistricting Watch, Top Stories | 7 Comments

7 thoughts on “Top 10 Winners and Losers in Pa. Senate Redistricting Plan”

  1. Chris Lee says:

    Look at the State College area around Penn State. Patton and College Townships are divided among THREE state representatives and Ferguson Township between two representatives. The State College Area School District will have FOUR representatives reaching into its area, none of whom live in the State College area. This absolutely defies the PA constitution requiring no division of municipalities unless absolutely necessary. State College in 2011 is like Monroe County in 1991 – split up and silenced.

  2. Lower Bucks Voter says:

    Hey carpetbagger, dont worry, tommy tomlinson would smoke you again regardless of how his district is drawn.

  3. Ghost of Dick Nixon says:

    It’s funny to hear the Democrats whining and crying about this. If they controlled the redistricting process they’d be going out of their way to lop off as many Republicans as possible. Welcome to reality guys. The fact is that the Census data is pretty much in line with the realities of the new plans. It’s hard to argue with the legitimate data. If anything, Allegheny Co. should lose an additional House seat given the population decline out there.

  4. Tom Martin says:

    When the State constitution refers to the districts shall be compact – the intent was in dimension – not as in an agreement between thieving politicians.

    to wit: “Article II Legislative Districts
    Section 16.

    The Commonwealth shall be divided into fifty senatorial and two hundred three representative districts, which shall be composed of compact and contiguous territory as nearly equal in population as practicable.”

  5. Ed H. says:

    Philadelphia Senate seats don’t seem to be too different. It’s John Taylor’s House district and eliminating Dennis O’Brien’s seat that seems to be the only huge changes.

  6. delco observer says:

    Republicans are trying to hide what they have done in the SE because of the terrible gerrymandering, political and racial,that has been done. Watch the papers..the storm is coming.

  7. Peter Kostmayer says:

    Any details on the southeast or Phila suburbs ?

Comments are closed.