Last year, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled that the way their congressional districts were drawn in 2011 were an illegal partisan gerrymander and ordered that new maps be drawn in time for the 2018 midterm elections.
After a lot of legal and public skirmishes, (including the PA Republicans offering up a new map that was rejected, threatening to impeach the 5 judges who voted against their map, appealing and being rejected by the US Supreme Court twice) the PA Supreme Court has drawn up a new map. Here’s a great gif (which I found at Huff Post) that compares the two maps:
What does this all mean for the citizens of Pennsylvania? The consensus seems to be that this new map takes what was a highly gerrymandered 13-5 environment (Republicans get 13 seats to the Democrats’ 5) to a 10-8 environment. Considering the Republican-Democratic split for the 2016 presidential election was a razor-thin 48%-47% split, I’d say this is a good start to getting more representative legislators for the citizens of Pennsylvania.
That said, trying to project how the new districts will affect the results in the 2018 midterms is complicated by the incumbents. In some districts, two current incumbents may be vying for one seat. In others, there essentially is no incumbent. There is sure to be some high drama in the state for the next several months.
As a reminder, the primary election for Pennsylvania is right around the corner on May 15, and of course the general election is on November 6. Democrats need to gain 24 seats to take over the House majority in Congress. This new map should improve those chances.
If you’d like to get more information about the new map, Roll Call has a great rundown for every district that includes what the presidential vote was in that district in 2016, what the status is of the new district (leans Republican, tilts Democratic, etc.), and how it affects each of the incumbents.
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