HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) – The new congressional districts for Pennsylvania stand, says a federal court panel, tossing out a lawsuit filed by eight Republican congressmen, including local US. Reps. Mike Kelly of Butler and Keith Rothfus of Sewickley.
“It’s a win for voters actually,” says Democratic election lawyer Cliff Levine.
Shortly after the federal panel ruled, the U.S. Supreme Court through Justice Samuel Alito rejected a Republican effort to stay or postpone the new map for another year.
Levine says this upholds the state Supreme Court’s finding that the old map was gerrymandered.
“The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania really wasn’t focused on Democrat or Republican. They said this was a partisan gerrymandered map and really we should be designing our districts more along county boundaries and more with compactness and less concern, one way or the other, with partisanship,” he said.
When the state legislature failed to pass a new congressional map, the court imposed its own, creating six new districts in western Pennsylvania.
The 13th includes eastern Westmoreland county with no incumbent because Congressman Bill Shuster is retiring.
The 14th includes Greene, Fayette, Washington, and western Westmoreland with no incumbent but where PA Rep. Rick Saccone and PA Sen. Guy Reschenthaler will battle for the GOP nomination.
The 15th includes Armstrong, Indiana, and eastern Butler county — now part of Congressman Glenn Thompson’s district.
The 16th includes Lawrence, Mercer, and western Butler county represented by Congressman Mike Kelly.
The 17th includes much of Allegheny County, Butler County, and Cranberry where Congressman Keith Rothfus is expected to be challenged by Conor Lamb.
The 18th district is wholly within Allegheny Country represented by Congressman Mike Doyle.
“We’re fairly certain that we are now going to proceed with the new map,” said Levine.
Candidates have until Tuesday afternoon to file their nominating petitions in the new districts. The primary is Tuesday, May 15.