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Pa’s New Congressional Maps

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

Hot off the presses, Pa’s future congressional map. Pending approval by the majority Republican Pa. House, Pa. Senate and Governor Tom Corbett, of course.

The full list of municipalities within each district is set to be posted on Wednesday. We’re told that instances where municipalities appear to be non-contiguous (e.g. Kennet Square in Chester County) reflect errors in the image, rather than the actual plan.

Here is the zoomed-in SEPA map:

And here is the zoomed-in SWPA, featuring the intra-party matchup between Reps. Jason Altmire and Mark Critz:

Here are the changes, spelled out as to how they benefit incumbent congressmen and women:

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny) added more of Washington and Westmoreland counties, and added part of Greene county. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Blair) was a GOP team player. He added all of Fayette County and Democratic-leaning areas in Greene and Washington counties.

As expected, the map pits Congressmen Jason Altmire and Mark Critz against each other as the state loses a district. Check out PoliticsPA’s look at the forthcoming primary battle. Whoever wins, the newly created 12th district will be competitive for a Republican challenger.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Butler) gets safer by shedding half of Erie County and gaining in Butler. Rep. Glenn Thompson keeps Venango County and picks up half of Erie.

Rep. Tom Marino (R-Lycoming) loses a number of Democratic strongholds and gains in GOP-rich central Pa., including all of his home county. Rep. Lou Barletta sheds Scranton and Wilkes-Barre as well as Monroe County, and picks up parts of Dauphin and Cumberland counties.

South Central:
Rep. Todd Platts will add the city of Harrisburg. Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Chester) added the city of Reading and additional portions of his home county. He ceded part of Lancaster County to Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Delaware).

Lehigh Valley:
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh) shed Easton in favor of territory in Berks, Lebanon and Dauphin counties.

Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick lost his portion of Philadelphia and added more Republican areas in Montgomery County. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Chester) picked up parts of Lancaster County the first time, and swapped Democrats for Republicans in Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties. He no longer has Reading, where 2010 and 2012 opponent Mana Trivedi lives. Rep. Pat Meehan is the real winner in this map. He added parts of Berks and Lancaster counties, and swapped out Democrats for Republicans in Chester, and Montgomery counties. He shed the left-leaning parts of Delaware County.

Democratic incumbents, besides Altmire and Critz, fared similarly well as Republicans sought to shuffle lean-D areas out of their districts. Rep. Tim Holden (D-Schuylkill) lost Dauphin and Lebanon counties to add Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and Easton. Rep. Mike Doyle added more Pittsburgh-area Democrats. Philadelphia-area Reps. Bob Brady, Chaka Fattah and Allyson Schwartz saw their districts become more blue.

42 Responses

  1. SB361 is an amendment to the state Constitution which will get rid of gerrymandering. If this amendment passes then Pennsylvania’s Congressional Districts will never look like this again no matter which party is in power. This amendment takes politics out of redistricting.

  2. this redistricting is a disgrace to every elected official who was involved. I can not see any logical reason behind it except ,blatantly moving boundries to achieve the result the politicians want, not for fair representation. Just look at district 7 and see if there is any other excuse!!

  3. I’m in the new 17th, because of the way they carved up Monroe County. How is it that I have more in common needs with folks in Schuylkill County, than folk who live ten miles up the road in Stroudsburg?

    The one saving grace of this…well two actually are as follows:

    1. I no longer have to claim Barletta as my representative…that guy NEVER represented me…he is against everything I’m for…and for everything I’m against!

    2. We MAY actually have a chance to get a REAL DEMOCRAT in our new 17th…80% of the District is new to the blue-dog Holden, and Cartwright has a lot of name recognition.

    Should be an interesting Primary, I think whoever wins THAT battle will win the General, no Republican wins this District. If I have to hold my nose and vote for Holden in the General, I will, but I REALLY hope we get Cartwright…THAT’s the guy who really cares about poor and working-class folks like me.

  4. This is ridiculous, as usual. Gerrymandering brought to new highs (or lows.)

    There should be a national Constitutional Amendment to the effect that all congressional Districts are required to be as uniformly shaped as possible. If one district needs to be a bigger rectangle than others, as a result of population density, this I understand. This so that all districts have roughly the same amount of people, thus equal representation.

    But at what point did we begin to allow our elected officials to choose their voters…rather than voters choose their elected officials? At the very least, we need a State Constitution Amendment to create a non-partisan Redistricting Committee, who will draw congressional District lines in the future…and draw them a close as possible to conform to a normal shape.

  5. Gerrymandering is designed to help the party in power; realize that regardless of the geographical needs of a voting area, a congressman represents all the needs of everyone in his district. Geography doesn’t matter.

    Fight fire with fire; I’m glad to see that the GOP has proposed a map that helps it’s incumbents rather than trying to play fair. The Democrats NEVER have played fair is gerrymandering, so for them to be whining about how unfair this is is ridiculous. Go look at Jack Murtha’s old district which was puffed up for him by Allegheny county voters. It is a fact of politics; an irritating one, but a necessary one.

  6. The 10th 17th, 6th and 7th were the worst designed. Geography is yet again ignored; People in the Carlisle (11th) Area have completely different needs than those of Hazleton (11th) a good 1.5 hour’s drive. The 10th is the worst on the list.

  7. I heard Monroeville Councilman Bernhard Erb was considering seeking the GOP nomination for PA-12

  8. Most of these districts make no sense (ethically speaking) and should not be legal. One more reason to put little faith in our government.

  9. PA-2 and PA-6 I live in Lower Merion which is, presently, in Jim Gerlach’s district. Has Pa-2 been redrawn. Is Chaka Fattah my new congressman?

    Lower Merion deserves him.

  10. The 7th can be laid at the feet of Joe Pitts who, it is reported, did nothing to help the process except want more and refuse to move.

    Other than that, this map is not as bad as 10 years ago when the Republicans overreached to try and score more seats than they had a chance to get — and lost Gekas and nearly lost Gerlach two times.

    The truth is, this map makes everyone — R and D — safer and creates only one real battle between Critz and Altmire. And that’s because the state is losing a seat and the R’s control the process. If the D’s controlled it, it would probably be Meehan vs. Gerlach.

  11. Once again after redistricting, the losing side complains. This is what always happens regardless of who is in power; it is not a partisan issue. Had the Democrats won, they would have done the same thing to benefit themselves. Do not complain about a system which you would support had you won. It is not “fair” to reap the rewards of a system then complain when the odds turn against you. Need I post the results from Democrat redistricting? You will see the same crazy lines, except in their favor.

  12. This makes the primary more important and the elected official more partisan. Gerrymandering is hardly the greatest threat to our Republic.

  13. Gerrymandering began in 1812. I bet people have been complaining about it ever since. Don’t think it will change any time soon.

  14. This map is a disgrace. Elections have consequences deadbeat voters!!! I think Obama is in trouble in pa and certainly you won’t see Bob Casey or anyone else down ticket hanging around him. Only saving grace is pathetic GOP field.

  15. The 7th and the 13th?? Really? And how is it constitutional to have that island of the 16th within the 7th?

  16. This map just proves that Republicans are cowards and they realize they can’t win in an honest fight so they use the concepts of cracking, packing and kipnapping in order to further dilute the registered democratic majority in this state. If they could get away with it I am sure they would try to merge the first 2nd and 14th into one district.

  17. gerrymander: to divide (a territorial unit) into election districts to give one political party an electoral majority in a large number of districts while concentrating the voting strength of the opposition in as few districts as possible
    Also see Republican Party violation of the PA Constitution

  18. The Dems really got screwed. We should adopt a non-partisan approach like other states have, including Iowa and California. This represents the worst of our political process. It’s not about the citizens picking their legislators but the legislators pickng their voters.

  19. Democrats whining about this had better check out Maryland’s new map before complaining. What goes around comes around, and it came around HARD.

    Dent, Meehan, Gerlach, Kelly, and Barletta are now pretty damn safe, and we have a great chance at knocking out Altmire with Christiana after Critz weakens him in a primary. Fitzpatrick also won Bucks County in 2006 and would never have lost to Murphy.

    This map is a job well done. Mission accomplished.

  20. Paul,

    Maybe with some, but gerrymandering as a political issue doesn’t get much play, either in the media or with most voters. Yeah no one likes it, but rarely is it something on which people base their votes.

    For example: How did you state legislator vote on redistricting in 2001? I bet you don’t know.

    Not saying that makes it OK. Just saying what is reality. Our only hope from these fiendish maps is a court challenge, which I can’t imagine they’d pass. They have to violate compactness laws.

  21. Now wait just one minute here…. I live in 7 (and, coincidentally, learned what Gerrymandering is in 7th grade). And while all’s fair in politics (!), I don’t know a single fellow voter that wants to be packed, cracked or hijacked. If this flies, there’ll be a price to be paid come election time….

  22. They should have labelled the 7th District as the “Joe Sestak Would Lose This District No Matter What District”

  23. Any idea as to what additional areas of Delaware County are now part of the First District? Looks like Swarthmore to me? Maybe Nether Providence, as well?

  24. Looks like the winners in tthe SE are bucks county and Fitzpatrick. Only recognizable district and with the solid conservatives picked up in Indian valley, how can someone who lost bucks by itself last year hope to unseat him? (here’s looking at you, boockvar)

  25. Can we reform the redistricting process after this is done? We deserve better after 2020. Good redistricting shouldn’t rely on who wins or loses the governor’s election.

  26. I kind of feel sorry for the Democrats, but then again, they nominated a crappy gubernatorial candidate instead of one who could win in 2010 and potentially veto a map that is bad for the party’s interests.

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