Change in Congressional Boundaries Prompting Ron DiNicola to Get - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Change in Congressional Boundaries Prompting Ron DiNicola to Get in the Race

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Ron DiNicola ready to run Ron DiNicola ready to run

After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court drew the new congressional map to correct what was ruled an unconstitutional gerrymander, all of Erie County is right now in the new 15th district. 

That change is prompting two time Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress Ron DiNicola from Erie County to try it again. 

The former U.S. Marine and Harvard grad is circulating nomination petitions to announce a bid for his party nomination, with his eyes on the ultimate prize of challenging Republican incumbent Mike Kelly of Butler.

Although DiNicola isn't ready to make his plans official yet, Phil Friedman, who will run his campaign says DiNicola is in, because he likes his chances with the new map.  "It’s still a republican leaning district and it’s a relatively large district it extends all the way down to the Allegheny County line," Friedman said, "I think and I hope that someone from Erie will have an advantage, we are the population center, but we’re not the majority of the district, the majority of the district is south of us."

Friedman thinks the current congressional district lines are fair and that the court strived to maintain the integrity of the counties.  Those lines do however split off a section of Butler County.  He says Ron thinks the time is right to make another run. "He’s decided now because of the redistricting, because it’s more of a fair district to run, his girls are a little bit older so he doesn’t have the family pressures as much as he did before and he’s elected to step back from his law practice and take a shot at this, hopefully for the good of our district and the country," Friedman said.

Erie News Now also checked in with Republican Phil English who represented the district for seven terms. We asked if he thought changes in the congressional boundaries might make this a race. "I’m a supporter of Mr. Kelly, but I think there’s an opportunity here eventually to have a real race," English said.  "Even though Erie’s no longer split it’s not as large a proportion of the district as it once was," English added.  "The last time Ron DiNicola was on the ballot, Erie was a bigger part of the population and the Macarena was part of the top 40 so the world has changed since then." 

English went on to say that the concentrated population of Erie County is only one of the regional contenders in the district.  "What I think is going to work is the candidate who is able to build ties to the entire congressional district, unite the communities of interest, and offer a unifying theme, that person is going to be successful and competitive." 

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