PITTSBURGH- The new congressional district map released by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Monday not only completely renumbered every district in the state, but also knocked both Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone out of the seat they are running for in the special election race less than a month away.
The plan also divides the city of Philadelphia into only two congressional seats instead of the current three. It also splits 13 counties, nine of them into two districts, and four into three.
The new map comes weeks after the state high court ruled that the map drawn in 2011 by Republicans was an unacceptable partisan gerrymander.
The court on Monday also allowed for a revised nomination petition calendar for candidates running for U.S. House, moving the nominating period to end March 20, keeping the primary election on schedule for May 15.
“The new map gives the Democrats a nice chance to win at least 8 to 10 of the newly redrawn seats, a nice leap from the current disadvantage of holding only 5 of the 18 seats,” said Mike Mikus a Democratic strategist based in Western Pennsylvania.
In short, it completely unravels the Republicans’ advantage and actively helps Democrats through some creative geography.
“This new map, as long as it withstands the legal challenge, is certainly good news for the Democrats. I see no reason under this map that Democrats can’t pick up three to five seats,” said Mikus.
Looking at the new 17th District, where Lamb might run, Mikus says any traditional Democrat could win it, “and possibly a more progressive candidate as well.”
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