The maps are in. The districts are outlined. Who won? Who lost?
We took a look around the Commonwealth, talking with experts in an attempt to establish which candidates benefitted from the PA Supreme Court’s choice and who didn’t.
Jonathan Rodden, Stanford: The man who drew the approved map. “I was asked to ignore partisan data and draw a map that minimized changes from the 2018 map ordered by the Court, changing boundaries only as required to achieve equal population among the districts using the newest census data. This approach resulted in a map with compact districts that keep counties, cities, and economic regions together.”
“If we’re comparing to where things were before (the) ruling, then the State Republican party is the obvious loser here, since their map that was recommended by a lower court was rejected and replaced,” said Chris Ellis, professor of political science at Bucknell University. “But in terms of what the new map looks like, it’s actually very fair and causes very little disruption to what 2020’s map looked like.”
“There are different ways to measure the new map’s partisan advantage,” said Lafayette professor of government and public service John Kincaid. “It seems to ensure six Democratic and six Republican seats. Two other seats lean Democratic, three lean Republican. However, given the headwinds faced by Democrats in the upcoming midterms, the map could produce a lopsided Republican delegation.”
Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna). Cartwright was fortunate that more Republicans were not included in his Scranton-area district. He will still be a top target for the GOP in 2022, but it could have been made much more difficult. Cartwright was also fortunate that Dan Meuser elected to run again in the 9th District.
Dan Meuser (R-Luzerne). Although some members of the GOP wanted him to run in the 8th, Meuser will run in the district in which he resides against another incumbent – Fred Keller. He does have the edge in that 66% of voters in the newly drawn 9th come from within his old district boundaries.
Fred Keller (R-Northumberland) – Keller suffered the ignominy of having his district (12th) axed even though the 17th and 18th Districts were vacant. Rather than competing against Thompson in the 15th, he opted to run against Meuser in the 9th
Glenn Thompson (R-Centre). Thompson is a winner because Keller opted to challenge Meuser in the 9th District. His district expanded to the New York border, which does mean more travel to meet voters.
Susan Wild (D-Lehigh). The 7th congressional district keeps all of Lehigh and Northampton counties, but sends most of Monroe County into the 8th District. It also adds all of Carbon County, changing the equation from 51% Democrat to 51% Republican. “The addition of Carbon County to District 7 will make it more challenging for Wild to get re-elected again,” said Kincaid.
17th District candidates. Since the Steel City remains completely in the 12th District, this seat remains more balanced than true-blue. This will be one of the battlegrounds in the Keystone State this fall. Dems get a slightly bluer map but not one that is locked-in. The GOP avoided a city split, but are still looking at a bluer district.
Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks). Fitzpatrick’s district has similar partisan scores as before according to Princeton Gerrymandering Project. Although the district leans Democratic, a strong incumbent has enabled the GOP to win and hold onto the seat.
Madeleine Dean (D-Montco). Dean is a winner because maps that proposed moving her into a district against Mary Gay Scanlon lost out, leaving her in Montgomery County.
Chrissy Houlihan (D-Chester). A district where 57 percent voted for Joe Biden, it looks to remain in the blue category despite GOP hopes to the contrary.
Scott Perry (R-York). Long a target of Democrats, the addition of a section of Cumberland County benefits the two-term Republican. Although several other map drafts would have made the seat much more red.
Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia). Boyle’s district runs from Center City to Northeast Philadelphia and is one-third white. Similar makeups around liberal cities have ousted incumbents. However, potential challenger Sharif Street has opted out.