Pennsylvania Governor to Reject GOP's Proposed Congressional Map - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Pennsylvania Governor to Reject GOP's Proposed Congressional Map

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf told the state Supreme Court he will not accept the proposed congressional district map.

He cited analyses and non-partisan experts that said the GOP-submitted map is partisan and gerrymandered.

“Partisan gerrymandering weakens citizen power, promotes gridlock and stifles meaningful reform,” said Gov. Wolf. " As non-partisan analysts have already said, their map maintains a similar partisan advantage by employing many of the same unconstitutional tactics present in their 2011 map.

“The analysis by my team shows that, like the 2011 map, the map submitted to my office by Republican leaders is still a gerrymander. Their map clearly seeks to benefit one political party, which is the essence of why the court found the current map to be unconstitutional." 

The rejected map would have changed the national political landscape in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Congressman Mike Kelly would continue representing Erie County, but his 3rd Congressional District would cover all of the county. Currently, he shares Erie County with Congressman Glenn Thompson and the 5th Congressional District.

It would have split Crawford County seemingly down the middle, with Kelly taking the western portion and Thompson taking the eastern portion. Thompson already represents parts of southeastern Crawford County and has an office in Titusville.

Warren, Venango and Forest counties were also included under Thompson's 5th District in the rejected plan.

The map was drafted by House and Senate Republican staff, according to Lesher, led by Speaker Turzai (R-McCandless) and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Brockway).

State GOP leaders said the revised map fully complies with the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court's order to redraw the districts for the 2018 election. Any splits, they say, are due to differences in population of otherwise keeping the county wholly intact. The proposed map includes 15 split counties, 13 less than the 2011 plan; and 17 split municipalities, 49 less than the 2011 plan.

The state Supreme Court threw out the commonwealth's current map of congressional districts, calling it a case of partisan gerrymandering, Jan. 22.

The revised version comes after a group of 18 Democratic voters backed by the Pa. League of Women Voters argued the maps drawn in 2011 violates Pennsylvania's Constitution. Thirteen of the commonwealth's 18 Congressional districts are held by Republicans, despite more than 817,000 registered Democrats living in Pennsylvania, according to the Pa. Department of State.

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