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Insider Redistricting Nirvana, Via Capitolwire

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

It’s another Why-Don’t-You-Have-a-Capitolwire-Subscription day for Pa. political junkies. The news service has a run down of several emerging scenarios for congressional redistricting, including some conflicting details between the Pa. Senate and Pa. House drafts.

Below are the most titillating details. For Pete DeCoursey’s full story in all its detail, click here. Caution: you are about to enter the no compactness zone.

Western Pa:

For their buddy Rep. Jim Christiana or perhaps even Majority Leader Mike Turzai, the Pa. House GOP wants to make a winnable GOP seat out of the Altmire-Critz district.

Lawmakers are tinkering with the idea of lumping the Democratic part of Beaver County into Rep. Mike Doyle’s Pittsburgh district. The new district would put the historically Democratic southwest (Greene, Fayette, etc) into Rep. Bill Shuster’s district and peel some strong conservatives away from Rep. Tim Murphy.

The GOP Congressional delegation and Pa. Senate want to make Altmire-Critz a Dem-leaning district that contains Altmire’s house in the North Hills of Pittsburgh as well as the southwest corner of Pa.

Rep, Mike Kelly will give up half of Erie County to Rep. Glenn Thompson, pick up all of Butler Co., and possibly parts of Lawrence and Beaver.

Central Pa:

Republicans aren’t trying to take out Rep. Tim Holden. Rather, they want to stuff his district full of Democrats. He’ll likely have Schuylkill County and Scranton, and there are serious plans that give him parts or all of Harrisburg, Reading, Wilkes-Barre or even Easton(!).

Rep. Lou Barletta wants to keep Wilkes-Barre. Rep. Todd Platts doesn’t want to absorb Harrisburg, but he might. Rep. Joe Pitts will move west, keeping just a time part of his home county of Chester. He could also get part or all of Reading. Rep. Pat Meehan will also stretch west, all the way into parts of Lancaster County.

Eastern Pa:

Gone are ambitious plans to combine/mess with districts of Reps. Bob Brady, Chaka Fattah or Allyson Schwartz. The congresswoman will pick up Lower Merion and a few other increasingly Democratic areas in the Philly burbs, as expected.

Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick will probably keep all of Bucks County, including the big Democratic towns of Bensalem and Bristol, but give up his slice of Philadelphia.

9 Responses

  1. GO GO GOP comment is very true. Pennsylvania republicans need to focus on securing their house members seats and defeating obama. Sadly, I think the senate race is a lost cause.

  2. Altmire’s district voted for Pat Toomey, but they didn’t want Keith because they didn’t like him or the people who volunteered for him. Those backing so-called conservatives (Bill Russell, Keith Rothfus, Feingold, etc) are the real RINOS because they’re losers who no Democrat or Independent will ever vote for. Take a look at the real motives of these loony activists. I hear that PA Coalition guy was an avowed socialist. And we all know JB is trying to weaken and dismantle the party structure. If it were up to these RINOs, there’d be no Republicans in office.

  3. There is no chance for anyone to beat Congressman Mike Doyle after the district lines are set. His district will be equal to Philly. Republicans should focus all of their effort for Altmire/Critz district.

  4. Laura, that district includes Republican Northern Allegheny County, Part of Republican Butler County and about 99% of democrat Beaver County. It was Beaver County that was the problem. Kieth had zero support from the National party and basically ran a shoestring campaign. Getting 49% was incredible. Altmire, who votes 90% of the time with Pelosi, had the people in the district snookered when he didn’t vote for Obamacare. Of course he didn’t vote to repeal it and he did vote for the Stimulus but people weren’t paying attention to those votes. He has the people convinced that he is a pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment Conservative blue dog democrat. Of course he isn’t but…… Next year Kieth will take out Altmire.

  5. Keith, I mean “Alan”:
    The Charlie Cook Partisan Vote Index for the Altmire district is R+6, which is by their definition strong Republican. Also, Obama lost the district by 11 points, and Bush won decisively twice. And Hart won blowouts all three times she won. Sorry, but if you couldn’t win in that type of district in 2010’s historic tidal wave, it’s no wonder you get left out of the discussion.

  6. Laura,

    I must question your description of the 4th district. “Solidly Republican” is not how most objective political observers would characterize it. It’s honestly a toss-up district considering the slight edge Democrats have in registration. Rothfus had to build name ID and a fundraising base from scratch against a very well-funded incumbent. That’s no easy chore no matter the election cycle. He’s much better positioned in 2012 to challenge the winner of Altmire-Critz than he was as a first-time candidate in 2010. With Obama at the top of the ballot, any Democrat in SWPA faces an uphill battle.

  7. The fact that the author of this article was unaware, or unimpressed, by the Rothfus campaign tells you all you need to know. Rothfus couldn’t even win in a solidly republican district in a historic tidal wave year when every other republican above and below Altmire on the ballot, and around him geographically and around the country won easily. Dozens of republican candidates got elected to Congress last year in much more democratic districts and with much less money than was spent by and on behalf of Rothfus. Why would anyone take him seriously now when he couldn’t win in that climate?

  8. Did these guys somehow forget about Keith Rothfus in SW PA? He got 49% as a huge underdog last time around and should be well ahead of Christiana in fundraising. Seems like he would at least warrant a mention.

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