Following the census of 2010, Pennsylvania had to be re-districted to bring the number of House of Representative seats to 18, and each district had to be within one person of another. Meaning, no more deviation than one person per district. This was accomplished and in doing so, Democratic districts were made more Democratic and Republican districts were made more Republican. The final map was passed as bi-partisan legislation with 36 Democrats supporting it as well as Democratic Congressmen Jason Altmire, Mike Doyle, and Bob Brady.
Democrats have consistently been unable to win Congressional elections in Pennsylvania since 2010. The easy thing was to blame the bi-partisan map as the culprit, completely ignoring the inability of the Democratic Party to put up good candidates or the Democratic Party’s ability to fund candidates.
Those who blame the bi-partisan map argue there are almost a million more Democrats in Pennsylvania so surely the map must be at fault because only five of 18 Members of Congress are Democrats. Never mind the fact that current voter registration numbers clearly demonstrate that Democrats make up over 50% of the voters in only nine (Philadelphia, Lackawanna, Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Luzerne, Erie, Beaver, and Cambria) of Pennsylvania 67 counties. Conversely, Republicans make up 50% or more of the voters 37 counties.
Why does the County voter registration matter? Because districts must be contiguous. If you only have nine anchor points for Democrats in the Commonwealth, it doesn’t leave a lot of options. That is why the map proposed by the Democrats that made more Democratic districts was laughed off.
Under orders of the Democrat-controlled Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to comply with their decision on the Congressional map in Pennsylvania and only given two days to fully consider the decision and devise a new map.
Republican House and Senate leaders produced a very compact, contiguous map. It only split counties 15 times which was 13 times less than the map that was thrown out. Further, the new map only split 17 municipalities which was 49 less than the 2011 map.
Nonetheless, Governor Wolf rejected the map after Democrats began complaining that it didn’t favor them enough to be considered fair. He used the analysis of Moon Douchin (Obama Donor?) to bolster his case against the new map.
It will be interesting to see the map the democrats come up with since they have rejected one that, on the face of it, appears compact, contiguous, and Constitutional. Again, given there are only nine majority Democrat counties in Pennsylvania, it will be interesting to see if they can cut the state 18 ways, have population be within one person in each district, keep it contiguous, and cause less splits in counties and municipalities than the Republicans did.