Congressional districts, candidates in flux

While the Pennsylvania Supreme Court redraw the state’s congressional districts for the U.S. House of representatives Monday, it’s not a done deal. State Republicans issued an Op/Ed piece saying they are going to challenge the state court’s right to make the change.

The piece, released by Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Mike Turzai said and state Sen. Joe Scarnati, state Senate Pro Tempore, filed an Emergency Application for a Stay with the United States Supreme Court.

“Our application makes clear that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court did not have the power to invalidate the constitutional, democratically passed congressional map. In allowing the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to invalidate federal congressional lines and to draw lines of their own, the U.S. Supreme Court will allow chaos to ensue throughout the United States in the coming years where politically connected litigants can go running into state Supreme Courts to invalidate congressional maps,” the piece says.

The action is part of a long-standing complaint of districts having been gerrymandered, drawn to give the state GOP an unfair advantage in representation.

The evolution of the Pennsylvania 7th Congressional District's shape since 1952 because of gerrymandered districts.

Because of the action, it is unclear what district boundaries will be valid by the time of the May 15 primary election

The state court’s redrawn district lines impact the greater Chadds Ford area. While Chadds Ford, Concord, Pennsbury and other municipalities were in the 7th Congressional District, Chadds Ford and Concord are now in the 5th CD as is the rest of Delaware County. All of Chester County is now in the 6th Congressional District — unless the United States Supreme Court overturns the state high court.

Chadds Ford Live contacted leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties in both counties to determine who is running where. Only Wayne Braffman of the Kennett Area Democrats responded saying Chrissy Houlihan is that party’s candidate for the 6th district seat.

Braffman said the nominating committee endorsed Houlihan by a 70-30 percent margin over Elizabeth Moro. For her part, Moro said she is considering challenging Houlihan in May.

“We are staying the course because we've learned through challenges with gerrymandering and the fact that we finally got democracy back in the hands of the people, what better message to send than to have an open primary. The people should choose their next representative” she said in an email.

Moro had been campaigning in the 7th but switched focus to the 6th after the state Supreme Court issued its ruling. She lives in Chester County.

According to Turzai’s and Scarnati’s Op/Ed piece, state Democrats accepted the previous map until the 2016 presidential election.

“We have now used the existing maps for three straight elections. It wasn’t until President Donald Trump was elected that a flurry of liberal activists began challenging congressional maps across the country, including Pennsylvania.”

For a comparison of the current district boundaries and those drawn by the court for the 2018 elections, go here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsylvania%27s_congressional_districts

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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