Could There Be 2 Pa. Primaries At Double The Cost?
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Primary is April 24.
But could there be a second primary later this year – at double the expense to taxpayers?
Some are suggesting that could be the result of a State Supreme Court ruling.
Rumors are flying through Harrisburg that some legislators may want to schedule – at taxpayer expense – a second primary election this summer.
“Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for that,” says Pa. Sen. Jay Costa, a Forest Hills Democrat.
Right now, the first primary election is set for April 24 when candidates for President, U.S. Congress, state row officers, and the state legislature are on the ballot.
But the Supreme Court just struck down a Republican redistricting plan of State House and Senate districts, ordering legislative candidates to run in their old districts.
“It’s clear their intention is to have legislators seek office for the 2012 election based on the old existing lines from 2001’s plan,” says Costa, the Democratic Senate leader.
The high court ordered the Reapportionment Commission – of which Costa is a member – to redraw the districts, making them compact and contiguous, and not splitting up so many counties and municipalities.
Costa says that cannot be done by the April 24 primary, especially when you add in time for hearings and public comment; so, he says it makes sense to use the current districts until 2014.
“There needs to be time for public comment, there needs to be time for a final plan to be voted on, there needs to a period of time for appeal to the Supreme Court,” he said.
But some Republicans, who control the process, may prefer a second primary later this year for just state legislators – running in the new districts, once finally approved by the Supreme Court.
Democrat Costa says that would cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
“To ask the counties to do a second election purely for political purposes is to me outrageous,” he says.