PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Out with the old and in with the new.
When the state legislature failed to approve new district lines to replace the unconstitutional gerrymandered districts tossed out by the state Supreme Court last month, the court issued its own plan.
The justices said the new districts are more compact and split fewer counties and municipalities than the map drawn by Republicans to elect Republicans in 2011.
And in some districts, the new map gives Democrats a shot at winning.
But some citizens will find themselves in new districts with different or new members of Congress.
KDKA’s Jon Delano Reports:
The new 13th district, includes the eastern half of Westmoreland County and stretches eastward to Cumberland County. The incumbent is Bill Shuster who’s retiring.
The new 14th district includes Fayette, Greene, Washington, and the western half of Westmoreland County, and has no incumbent congressman.
The new 15th district includes Armstrong, Indiana, and the eastern half of Butler County and stretches north and west to state college. The incumbent is Glenn “GT” Thompson.
The new 16th district includes the western half of Butler County, Lawrence County, and stretches north to Erie. The incumbent is Mike Kelly.
The new 17th district includes Beaver County and much of Allegheny including parts of the South Hills, West Hills, Quaker Valley, North Hills, and Allegheny Valley. The incumbent is Keith Rothfus.
The new 18th district is the city of Pittsburgh and the eastern half of Allegheny County, including the Mon Valley. The incumbent is Mike Doyle.
Gov. Tom Wolf says election officials are ready.
“The people working in Pennsylvania have gone through this before and will do a good job here,” said the governor on Tuesday on KDKA Radio.
Of course, it didn’t take long for President Trump to tweet about a new congressional redistricting map for Pennsylvania.
“Hope Republicans in the great state of Pennsylvania challenge the new ‘pushed’ congressional map, all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary,” he tweeted.
No surprise trump is unhappy.
The current map, enacted in 2011 by Republicans to elect Republicans, was declared an unconstitutional gerrymander by the state Supreme Court in January.
When the legislature failed to pass their own redistricting plan, the court issued its own — and that has brought an outcry from Republicans like Congressman Keith Rothfus.
“What they have done is impose a map by the court. This is totally outside constitutional bounds, and I think we have to ask some hard questions,” says Rothfus.
Rothfus has reason to be concerned because his old 12th district is now the new 17th district and gives Democrats a shot to beat him.
Four Democrats have already lined up to run against Rothfus; Aaron Anthony of Shaler, Ray Linsenmayer of McCandless, Tom Prigg of McCandless, and Beth Tarasi of Sewickley.
And the new 17th district includes Mt. Lebanon, the home of Conor Lamb, the Democrat running for Congress in the old 18th district.
As for Republican Rick Saccone, his home of Elizabeth will be in Congressman Mike Doyle’s now overwhelmingly Democratic 18th district.
It’s not clear if the federal courts will intervene in what the state Supreme Court says is strictly a matter of Pennsylvania constitutional law.
But with so much at stake — including the control of the U.S. House of Representatives — you can be sure the lawyers are figuring out how to make the case.