PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Congressman Conor Lamb’s decision to run for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate leaves an opening in his House seat in suburban Pittsburgh.
But it’s not clear if Lamb’s district will still exist after next year.READ MORE: CMU Trustee Who Flew To Space Wants To Make Space Travel Accessible For Everyone
Every 10 years, the state legislature and governor get to redraw Pennsylvania’s congressional districts. The state is set to lose one of its 18 seats, and Lamb’s run for the Senate could mean the elimination of his congressional district.
“I would imagine that Conor Lamb’s seat may be the first on the chopping block,” said Khari Mosley, a local political analyst.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen, obviously. We know that we’re going to lose a congressional seat. But it’s going to be difficult how they cut up these districts,” Sam DeMarco, Allegheny County Republican chair, told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Friday.
Lamb’s decision to give up his House seat to run for the Senate, political insiders say, puts his suburban Pittsburgh district up for elimination.READ MORE: Vigil Held For Jim Rogers, Pittsburgh Man Who Died After Being Tased By Police During Arrest
“Some say it might come from northeastern Pennsylvania. Some say with this opening, this makes it a little bit easier,” said Mike DeVanney, a Republican political strategist.
The 17th Congressional District includes nearly three-quarters of a million people in the South Hills, West Hills and North Hills of Pittsburgh, including Cranberry and all of Beaver County.
So far, all the other members of Congress in Pennsylvania are running for re-election. Local Republican leaders think if this suburban district survives intact without Lamb, they could win it.
“This seat would be ripe for pick-up, particularly with what we see taking place today whether it be on the southern border, whether it be inflation, whether it be crime – all of these things will be issues,” says DeMarco.
Given how well President Joe Biden did in Pittsburgh’s suburbs, local Democrats also think the suburban Pittsburgh district should survive. But to do that, the district of another incumbent somewhere in the state will need to be cut.
Republicans, who control the process in the legislature, promise a transparent one. Maps cannot be drawn until the final census numbers come in later this month, and, of course, Governor Tom Wolf has a veto.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Police Investigating After Body Found In Monongahela River
If they deadlock, the state Supreme Court will draw the map, just as it did the current one.