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Pennsylvania 2018 Court Map

So since the PA Supremes look like they might overturn the congressional map, I decided to draw what I think a truly nonpartisan Pennsylvania map might look like. This map tries to keep in mind county splits, compactness, and COI to the point where I think this is a reasonable map the Court could implement if they’re not trying to be totally Dem hacks. There are no municipality splits other than Philly and just 11 counties are split (Allegheny, Butler, Chester, Cumberland, Delaware, Luzerne, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Synder). This map is overall 8R-4D-6S, though I would bet the final result if implemented for 2018 is closer to 9-9 than 14-4. Thanks to RRR and Ryan_in_SEPA for their help, particularly on the SEPA portion.

Statewide map:

1. Brady (D-Overbrook, Philadelphia) and Meehan (R-Upper Darby) D+30 in 2008, ~D+33 in 2016, 44/41/5 W/B/H VAP, Safe D

Dividing Philly North-South is actually a bit more logical from a compactness point of view than the current East/West split. Brady’s district gives up the Hispanic areas of eastern North Philly for Black West Philly, making this seat likely to have a Black-majority Dem electorate. It also includes the heavily black-middle-class eastern towns of Delaware County to equalize population, meaning Meehan technically now lives in this seat. This seat is actually one of the few that is getting much more white as many neighborhoods south and west of Center City are gentrifying rapidly, so there’s a real possibility a white liberal and Black coalition could dislodge Brady if his ethics issues become more salient.

2. Evans (D-Oak Lane, Philadelphia) D+37 in 2008, ~D+40 in 2016, 27/50/17 W/B/H VAP, Safe D

This seat is a pretty good illustration of just how massive North Philly’s ghettoes are, as this becomes an entirely North Philly district, getting some Hispanic-heavy neighborhoods and some lower-middle-class areas of the lower Northeast, plus a few Roxborough wealthy white liberals. This seat is is probably one of the 10 poorest districts in the country and still Black-majority by a hair (though the D primary electorate will be easily majority-Black). It is totally safe for Evans in both the primary and general.

3. Kelly (R-Butler) R+2 in 2008, ~R+12 in 2016, Safe R

I tried to make this seat a purely small-town NWPA seat, without any rural mountain areas or Pittsburgh suburbs. The result is reuniting Erie and dropping some Pittsburgh suburbs to make a very clean, very blue collar district. This probably would have been very competitive or even flipped as late as 2012, but it is very Trump-friendly and should be totally Safe for Kelly nowadays.

4. Perry (R-Carroll Twp.) R+13 in 2008, ~R+19 in 2016, Safe R

Not much changes with this district, except it loses Harrisburg and gets more Republicans from Franklin County. Totally Safe for Perry in the primary and general.

5. Thompson (R-Howard Twp.) R+9 in 2008, ~R+19 in 2016, Safe R

This seat is State College plus a big swath of some of the Northeast’s most rural territory. Loses its arm into Erie and is still totally Safe for Thompson in the primary and general.

6. OPEN D+1 in 2008, ~EVEN in 2016, Tossup

Berks County has been epically sliced and diced since 2002, but this map reunites it in one district. Berks is actually a right-trending area, but the cleanest thing to do was attach it to some upscale outer Montgomery suburbs that are trending hard-left. The net result is a beautifully clean, very diverse district socioeconomically that’s a pure Tossup politically and likely to remain so. Costello represents a plurality of this seat, but Meehan also represents a sizeable chunk of it, and neither one has a real base here. Given the tradeoff of moving to a new base vs. running in the tougher 7th (see below) this seat could be open, have one incumbent, or even see a Costello-Meehan primary mashup in which neither would have an obvious edge.

7. Costello (R-West Chester) D+3 in 2008, ~D+6 in 2016, Lean D pickup

Now to the part that Democrats will really like about this map. The current 7th is a ridiculous gerrymander spreading across a huge area of suburban SEPA.  This seat becomes a clean, very COI-friendly, pairing of the middle-ring suburban parts of Chester and Delaware counties, which is almost entirely upscale (except for the city of Chester) and trending left hard. Both Meehan and Costello’s bases are here, meaning that they could wind up facing off in a primary that wouldn’t do the winner any favors in the general. Alternatively, either or both could move to the 6th or take on Smucker in the 16th, meaning this seat could even wind up open. This is a seat with strong GOP heritage that has a decent chance to be held by a strong incumbent like Meehan or Costello IL-10 style, even in a tough environment. But all in all this seat is more likely than not to wind up in Dem hands.

8. Fitzpatrick (R-Middletown Twp.) D+1 in 2008, ~EVEN in 2016, Lean R

Bucks County is almost the perfect size for a district and has to stay whole, which means this district doesn’t change much at all. Getting a little bit of the Northeast tip of Philadelphia makes it cleaner than taking some of Montgomery, so that’s the only change. Still a very typical swing district with a broad cross-section of upscale and downscale suburbs that will give Fitzpatrick a tough fight in 2018, though with his incumbency I’d mark him a very slight favorite.

9. Shuster (R-Holidaysburg) R+11 in 2008, ~R+24 in 2016, Safe R

This seat covers almost all of rural SWPA outside of the Pittsburgh metro area, including Altoona and Johnstown. This is a historically-R seat, and the historically-D parts of the district are trending right hard. Shuster gets a significant amount of new territory, but should still be a primary favorite.

10. Marino (R-Williamsport) R+9 in 2008, ~R+20 in 2016, Safe R

This seat covers a bunch of small towns in NEPA that have been sliced and diced on the current map. This seat is trending right strongly, and basically a clean and compact COI; while Marino gets a big chunk of new territory he should still be Safe in the primary and general.

11. OPEN R+8 in 2008, ~R+11 in 2016, Safe R

The Harrisburg area is a mess on the current map and this seat makes a compact COI of basically the entire metro and little else. Most of the candidates who are running for the current 11th are from that side of the district, so I would expect them all to run here. This seat is red enough for the primary winner to likely have little trouble in the general barring something unexpected.

12. Rothfus (R-Edgeworth) R+9 in 2008, ~R+8 in 2016, Safe R

This seat basically unites almost all of Pittsburgh’s white-collar suburbs. Beaver County doesn’t belong from a socioeconomic point of view, but it makes the seat much more compact and isn’t a horrible COI. This seat has some tension between SWPA’s downscale heritage and Pittsburgh’s development as a white-collar center, but overall the seat is Republican up and down ballot. It’s a fair amount of new territory for Rothfus, but he should be Safe in the primary and general barring something unexpected or a truly mammoth wave.

13. Boyle (D-Bustleton, Philadelphia) D+9 in 2008, ~D+12 in 2016, Safe D

This seat combines the white-liberal heavy southern half of Montgomery County with the lower-middle-class central part of Northeast Philly. Boyle may actually live just over the line in the 8th, though he could easily move back here. With less of the Northeast and more white liberals in the district, Boyle could potentially be vulnerable to a primary challenge, though I would guess that his incumbency is enough to carry him through.

14. Doyle (D-Forest Hills) D+13 in 2008, ~D+16 in 2016, Safe D

This seat becomes significantly cleaner and gets unpacked a bit by following municipal lines. Still includes the entire city of Pittsburgh and its inner, generally blue collar, southern and eastern suburbs. This seat is actually trending left with the influx of white liberals. Should be totally safe for Doyle both primary and general.

15. OPEN D+3 in 2008, ~R+1 in 2016, Tossup

This seat reunites the Lehigh Valley into one district, which is almost the perfect size for a seat. It has a tiny bit of the Poconos to equalize population. This is a purely swing seat, with a diverse mix of urban and suburban, white and blue collar areas, that should be very competitive in 2018 almost regardless of who the parties nominate.

16. Smucker (R-West Lampeter Twp.) R+7 in 2008, ~R+6 in 2016, Likely R

This is a beautifully clean pairing of all of Lancaster and the exurban western parts of Chester County; basically the Amish Paradise seat. This seat is very historically-Republican, and though the Chester part of the district is trending left, Lancaster is pretty static. Smucker should probably be safe here barring a massive wave. Though there is a chance Costello would challenge him in a primary, Smucker would still be a fairly strong favorite.

17. Cartwright (D-Moosic) D+4 in 2008, ~R+6 in 2016, Tossup

This seat takes in the rural areas of NEPA and part of the Poconos to pair with essentially the entire Scranton-Wilkes Barre metro. The net result is that Cartwright’s purple to light-blue seat becomes light red by adding some very historically-R areas. This is a decent pickup opportunity for the GOP even in 2018 with a decent candidate, though Cartwright’s incumbency and the national mood probably keep it in the Tossup category.

18. VACANT (probably Saccone, R-Elizabeth Twp.) R+9 in 2008, ~R+16 in 2016, Safe R

This seat doesn’t change a whole lot, but now includes all of Washington, Greene, and Westmoreland Counties, along with some small chunks of southern Allegheny to equalize population. This seat is even more blue-collar than the previous version and very Trump-friendly. Assuming the GOP doesn’t blow it in the special Saccone should be safe in this seat for the 2018 primary and general.

Political Roundup for November 13, 2017

Over the weekend in PA-18, State Rep. Rick Saccone (R) took the GOP nomination. Democrats will nominate their contender this coming Sunday. Also check below for our preview of today’s election in Somaliland (where and/or what the heck is that, you ask?… read on).

Now, after a week in which I am reduced to not giving a f* about what happens to the broader GOP while resolving to spend the next year hoping and praying that Larry Hogan will not be doomed by a massive wave, it is time for today’s Roundup…

Briefing: New Nominees for our Anthony Weiner Award for Pervert of the Year:

AL-Sen: A former Roy Moore colleague said that it was “common knowledge” he was interested in high school girls when they worked together as prosecutors. Over the weekend, multiple polls have come out showing the race between Moore and ex-US Attorney Doug Jones (D) is a dead heat; in particular, one from JMC Analytics has Jones up 46-42.

CO-Treas: State Rep. Steve Lebsock (D) is under fire for allegedly sexually harassing a fellow lawmaker, State Rep. Faith Winter (D). Lebsock had looked like the Dem front-runner for the open Treasurer seat, but fellow State Rep. Dave Young (D) entered the race last week (perhaps getting tipped off about the allegations?) and now looks likely to be the Dems’ consensus pick. Democratic leaders are now calling for Lebsock’s resignation.

CA-SD-32: State Sen. Tony Mendoza (D) repeatedly attempted to get a young woman interviewing for a staffer job to come home with him to “review her resume”. Mendoza is the roommate of fellow State Sen. and US Senate candidate Kevin DeLeon (D).

CA-LD-26: State Rep. Devon Mathis (R) is under investigation by police for allegedly digitally penetrating a staffer.

MN-SD-54, MN-LD-22B: Two Minnesota legislators are also under fire for harassment. State Rep. Erin Maye-Quade (D) claims she was harassed by both State Sen. Dan Schoen (D) and State Rep. Tony Cornish (R). Allegations against Schoen were also leveld by multiple other women, and allegations against Cornish have been brought by a lobbyist.

Now, in non-perversion news:


CA-Gov, CA-Sen: Ex-Rep. Doug Ose (R), who served three terms representing suburban Sacramento in the 90s and 2000s before a failed comeback bid in CA-7 in 2014, is now considering a run for Governor. Ose’s entry as a third Republican would likely completely ensure that two Democrats (and neither of the other two Rs, businessman John Cox (R) and State Rep. Travis Allen (R)) make the general election. But Ose may not need to enter to ensure that: a new USC/LA Times Poll shows LG Gavin Newsom (D) leading the gubernatorial race with 31%, with ex-LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) taking the second slot with 21%. Allen and Cox are banging heads to split the GOP vote with 15% and 11% respectively. Two longer-shot Dems, State Treasurer John Chiang (D) and ex-Superintendent Delaine Eastin (D), are at 12% and 4% respectively. For the Senate race, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) holds a strong lead over State Sen. Kevin DeLeon (D), who is challenging her from the left. Feinstein leads 58-31 in the two-way race.

MN-Gov: Woodbury (pop. 68K) Mayor Mary Guiluiani-Stevens (R) has reserved domain names pertaining to a gubernatorial run, but is so far tight-lipped on her intentions. The mayor of the large eastern Twin Cities suburb would join a crowded field of Hennepin County commissioner and 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson (R), State Sen. David Osmek (R), State Rep. Matt Dean (R), and ex-State Rep. and ex-MNGOP chair Keith Downey (R). State House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R) and ex-Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) are also thought to be considering.

TX-Gov: Democrats continue to cast about for a sacrificial lamb to take on Gov. Greg Abbott (R). The latest name considering making a late entry here is Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D). Valdez is little-known outside of her county, but seems a significantly more credible candidate than investor Andrew White (D), who is the current Dem front-runner on little other than being the son of 80s-era ex-Gov. Mark (D).


MA-Sen: Businessman, self-proclaimed “inventor of e-mail”, and Fran Drescher’s ex Shiva Ayyadurai is leaving the crowded GOP primary to take on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) and running as an Independent. Ayyadurai, a firebrand conservative, was an amusing sideshow in the race but had little institutional support as the primary field filled up with three more connected and traditional candidates, Romney aide Beth Lindstrom (R), State Rep. Geoff Diehl (R), and businessman John Kingston (R). Needless to say, none of these candidates pose a threat to Warren in the general.

NJ-Sen: A juror was dismissed from the corruption trial of Sen. Bob Mendendez (D) last week for a previously-planned vacation; jury deliberations will now start from scratch today. The excused juror, Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, said (quite colorfully) that she was a firm “not guilty” vote, but the jury was deadlocked and she expected an ultimate hung jury.

KY-Sen ’22: Sen. Rand Paul (R) has apparently been told that federal charges will be filed against Rene Boucher, a neighbor who attacked Paul and broke four of his ribs last week. Prosecutors likely believe the attack was politically motivated, while Boucher’s attorney says that it was due to a non-sepcific “trivial dispute”.


KY-6: Lexington Mayor Jim Gray (D) is considering a run against Rep. Andy Barr (R). Gray would likely be Democrats’ top recruit for the medium-red seat, as he carried the district in his 2016 Senate run against Sen. Rand Paul (R). However, Gray’s profile as a well-known liberal may make the race more difficult.

TX-21: State Rep. Jason Isaac (R) is the first candidate into the race for Rep. Lamar Smith’s (R) open San Antonio to Austin seat. Isaac represents about 20% of the district and could be a front-runner, but the field for this red seat that swung against Trump could grow significantly.

VA-6: Andy Parker (D), father of Alison Parker, a journalist who was murdered on live TV, is considering a run for this open congressional seat. Alison’s boyfriend Chris Hurst (D) was elected last week to a purple State House seat in the Blacksburg area. Parker would face a much tougher bid for the very conservative district; State Rep. Ben Cline (R) and RNC official Cynthia Dunbar (R) are already in what is expected to be a crowded GOP primary.

State & Local:

FL-AG: State Rep. Ross Spano (R) of suburban Tampa is the latest Republican considering an entry into this primary. Spano would join front-running retired judge Ashley Moody (R), who also hails from Tampa Bay, and fellow State Reps. Jay Fant (R) and Frank White (R). Little-known attorney Ryan Torrens (D) is the only Dem in the race.

GA-PSC: Deal Admin official Tricia Pridemore (R), who lost the 2014 primary for the congressional GA-11, is now running for an open seat on the Public Service Commission. The 5-member, all-GOP board is elected statewide for staggered 6-year terms.

IL-Comp, IL-Treas: Illinois Republicans have found two “C” list candidates to fill out their Row Officer ticket. Ex-State Rep. and 2014 IL-11 nominee Darlene Senger (R) will challenge Comptroller Susana Mendoza (R) and Orland Park councilman Jim Dodge (R) will challenge Treasurer Mike Frerichs (D). Both incumbent Democrats are heavy favorites for re-election in the blue state. They join former congressional candidate Erika Harold (R) for the open AG seat and Grundy DA Jason Helland (R) for SoS as the ILGOP’s presumptive Row Officer slate.

MS-LG: Vicksburg (pop. 23K) Mayor George Flaggs (D) is considering a run for LG in 2019. The moderate Flaggs says he may run as a Democrat or switch parties and run as a Republican. Incumbent Tate Reeves (R) is widely expected to either run for Governor or score an appointment to the Senate seat of Sen. Thad Cochran (R) should the latter resign soon, as expected; SoS Delbert Hosemann (R) and State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) have also been connected with LG runs, but much will depend on how the Cochran musical chairs play out.

NV-Treas: Financial planner Derek Uehara (R) is running for State Treasurer, joining ex-Las Vegas councilman Bob Beers (R) in the primary. No Democrats have as of yet declared for this seat, which is open as incumbent Dan Schwartz (R) is running for Governor.

Howard, MD-CE: County Commissioner Calvin Ball (D) is running for County Executive in my home county against incumbent Allan Kittleman (R). Ball is a top-tier recruit for Dems in this blue suburban Baltimore county, heavy with upscale liberals, that continues to trend left despite my best efforts. (sigh)

PA-Redistrict: The State Supreme Court has agreed to fast-track a Democratic challenge to the state’s congressional map, placing it on a timeline that could lead to new maps in time for the 2018 elections. A new map would likely flip at least one of three competitive GOP-held districts in the Philly suburbs, PA-6, 7, and 8, and potentially make a couple other districts, most likely the open GOP-held PA-15 and the Dem held Trump-voting PA-17, more competitive.


Today, continuing our commitment to bringing you coverage of elections in places you didn’t even know existed, there is an election in Somaliland, which might be best characterized as an accident of diplomacy. Calling it a de facto nation would be selling it short: in every arena but international status, Somaliland is a more of a nation than a sizeable fraction of the world’s recognized nations. It has a population of 3.5M, occupying what is internationally recognized as (theoretically) the northwest part of Somalia along the south shore of the Gulf of Aden. However, that international recognition is a diplomatic fiction, as the dysfunctional-at-best Somali government hasn’t had the slightest bit of control (or even influence) over the area for over 25 years. Somaliland broke off when the nation’s central government disintegrated in 1991 and hasn’t looked back, but the desire to not further hurt the legitimacy of the fledgling-to-nonexistent Mogadishu government has led all other countries to hold back from recognizing Somaliland’s obvious independence. Making its lack of international recognition even stranger is that Somaliland would under normal circumstances be one of both Africa’s and the Islamic World’s biggest success stories. It is a relatively stable and democratic nation (at least by the global region’s low standards), with a functioning central government and economy, and a free politics and civil society that easily surpass a majority of Africa’s recognized nations. Today, the presidential election is open as the incumbent is peacefully standing down, and there is a lively competition between the country’s three strong parties, which are well-developed enough to even have rudimentary ideologies instead of being mere personality or clan vehicles. All of the three parties have large caucuses in parliament and are running credible candidates, who even had a televised debate last month. Furthermore, all three candidates at least appear to be relatively pro-Western and within democratic norms. The candidate of the incumbent party is Musa Behi, who serves as the party’s chair. He is facing public works minister Faysal Warabe and parliament speaker Abdiraman Irro. It’s hard to handicap this race, but Behi seems to be the candidate of the capital’s establishment and military, Irro seems to have the strongest ties to rural traditional clan leaders, and Warabe seems to be closest to a Western-style social democrat. Behi seems to be the front-runner, but it’s hard to say for sure.

Political Roundup for June 27th, 2017

Big Picture

Democrats: Rasmussen has found that 58% of democrats want new party leadership. That’s not too surprising given the level of Sanderism in the party and the unusually-advanced age of many of its leaders. Still, it’s likely that most of them will only go out feet first.

The Suburbs: Here’s a retrospective on the GA-06 special focusing n the GOP’s suburban problem. It’s a tad alarmist, but that doesn’t mean that the problem doesn’t exist.


AL-Sen: In what must have been a somewhat surreal scene, minor Senate candidate Randy Brinson (R), head of the Alabama chapter of the Christian Coalition, broke bread in a mosque at the end of Ramadan. It’s quite a campaign stunt. We’ll see if anything major comes of it.

NV-Sen: There are a few things going on here. First of all, the DSCC apparently doesn’t understand the meaning of the word ‘no.’ Sen. Dean Heller (R) has announced that he’s a ‘no’ vote not the new healthcare bill currently in front of the Senate. However, hours after he announced this, the DSCC started running Google ads telling voters not to ‘be fooled’ by Heller’s stance. I’m honestly confused by this. We live in a world where communications staff can twist words, but they’re flat-out accusing Heller of lying. I don’t see how they’ll back it up. Oh yeah, and Danny Tarkanian might be challenging Heller in the primary. That’s just what we need in this race.

NV-Sen Continued: Speaking of problems that Dean Heller doesn’t need, there’s a poll out that shows him trailing Rep. Jacky Rosen (D) by a point, 41-42. That’s BEFORE he goes through a likely-divisive primary challenge. Geez.

MO-02: The Post-Dispatch has a useful rundown of three Democrats who might run for this seat, whether Rep. Ann Wagner (R) run for Senate or not. They’re all Some Dudes, but all have solid professional careers, two are veterans, and one is actually the stepson of Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R).


CT-Gov: State Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Yes, THOSE Kennedys) has declined to run for the open governor’s mansion in Connecticut. Speculation always surrounds the political scion, but he’s largely preferred to just remain in the background so far.

FL-Gov: It seems that former Rep. Gwen Graham (D) is making some coalition-building headway in her quest to become Governor. Graham has been endorsed by State Sen. Victor Torres (D) of Orlando. This is significant because Torres is Puerto Rican. Puerto Ricans are a fast-growing group in both the the Democratic primary and the wider Florida electorate.

FL-Gov Continued: Over on the Republican side, State Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater may be getting ready to enter the gubernatorial race as well. Latvala is well-known as a libertarianish moderate. He’ll have to contend with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, whom he’s already attacking and characterizing as a ‘career politician.’

PA-Gov:  State Sen. Scott Wagner (R) just can’t seem to catch a break; first he has an incident with a Democratic tracker, and now he can’t even hold a hearing without getting a mob scene. Wagner was holding the meeting about the Philadelphia soda tax in that fair city, but pro-tax and anti-Wagner forces made such a racket that the hearing had to be rescheduled for Harrisburg. Wagner’s campaign limps onward.


OH-Aud/Treas/WATN: Democrats have scrounged around their very thin Buckeye bench and managed to come up with two non-embarrassing candidates for statewide office. Rob Richardson, Jr (D), who came out of nowhere to take 20% in the Cincinnati mayoral primary, is running for Treasurer. The bigger news, though, is that former Rep. Zack Space (D) is running for Auditor. Both men face an uphill climb in a state that took a definite rightward turn in 2016, but at least they’re not Some Dudes.

PA-Redistrict: This is sort of a ‘no shit, Sherlock’ situation, but the AP did analysis of the Keystone State’s congressional map and found under the efficiency gap standard that it is one of the most gerrymandered in the country. This illustrates exactly why this whole movement to use this standard is idiotic – even if the map weren’t gerrymandered, Democrats would probably only get, say, 7 of 18 districts in most years. In order for this standard to be met, you’d actually have to baconstrip Philadelphia because Democrats are so tightly packed into the city. That is, of course, what proponents of the standard want, which shows it for the naked power grab that it is.

Political Roundup for June 5th, 2017

Later today we’ll have a preview for the gubernatorial and legislative primaries in New Jersey and CA-34 Runoff. Until then, gorge yourselves on electoral goodness with me down below.


OH-Sen: As the article points out, this one escalated quickly. After Cleveland banker Mike Gibbons (R) jumped into the Buckeye State’s senatorial campaign, he immediately started attacking primary opponent State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) for being a career politician. Gibbons also raised $250,000 without self-funding in just a few days. Mandel already has $600,000, but almost half the gap is already gone. What looked like a sleepy primary is getting interesting. Whichever man wins will face Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in the general election.

MI-Sen: Though businesswoman Lena Epstein (R) has already launched her bid against Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D), she may not be alone for long. This article suggests that both businessman John James (R) and state Supreme Court Justice Bob Young (R) are also testing the waters.


MN-Gov: If you’re an Outstate DFLer, you just got some great news; Rep. Rick Nolan (D) will run for reelection and not for Governor. This leaves fellow Outstate congressman Tim Walz (D) with his best possible shot at the nomination and keeps an incumbent running in a Trump district at the same time. That’s a win-win unless you’re a Republican, in which case it sucks.

NV-Gov: Though he hasn’t yet announced his expected campaign for Governor next year, AG Adam Laxalt (R) is already piling-up cash. His campaign account now has $600,000 on hand. That’s quite a decent amount for this early in the games in a fairly small state.

TN-Gov: Speaking of things sucking for people, it probably doesn’t feel great to be State Sen. Mark Green (R) right now. Green was running for Governor, but was then nominated to be Secretary of the Army, causing him to leave the race. Then after someone unearthed some fairly tame comments he made a few years ago about gay rights, he dropped out of contention for that role. Now, he has decided to not resume his campaign. He cites the fact that other campaigns were already rising to fill his anti-establishment niche.


ME-IRV: Because the ranked-choice ballot initiative that passed narrowly in 2016 was invalidated as against the state constitution by the Maine Supreme Court, supporters are now asking the legislature to amend the state constitution to achieve the same goal. I’m not holding my breath on this one.

PA-Redistrict: A Democratic state senator from the Pittsburgh area has proposed a bill to turn over control of the Keystone State’s redistricting to a panel of five commissioners (two from each party and a tiebreaker). Seeing as redistricting is currently controlled by an unholy but effective alliance of Republicans and the Philadelphia Democratic machine, I don’t see this going anywhere.

TX-GOP: After the surprise resignation of state party Chairman Tom Mechler, Texas Republicans now once again have a leader. Travis County Chairman James Dickey has won a narrow race for the top job in one of America’s biggest state parties.


Indonesia: This one is a bit scary. It seems that when Jakarta’s governor lost reelection recently, he did so solely because he wasn’t Muslim. He had a 76% approval rating, but 30% of voters stated that that though they approved of his job performance, sharia law dictated that they must vote for his Muslim opponent. Moreover, he’s now facing blasphemy charges for suggesting that Muslims didn’t have to vote for him to due to sharia law,

UK: Our friends over at 538 have an excellent piece on whether or not the polls showing a close race with a small Tory lead are skewed in favor of Labour or not (some polls show a much bigger lead). This is worth a read if you’ve been recently confused by the contradictory polls coming out of Britain lately.

Political Roundup for April 5th, 2017

Last night’s mini Election Day yielded a GOP pickup for mayor in Aurora, IL with Richard Irvin (R). As expected, there were huge Democratic victories for incumbent WI Superintendent Tony Evers (D) and Lyda Krewson (D) as Mayor in St. Louis. In Omaha, Mayor Jean Stothert (R) and ex-State Sen. Heath Mello (D) made it easily to the runoff with most of the remaining votes going to a Republican. In Henderson, NV, city councilwoman Debra March (D) clinched the race outright. In the special primary for CA-34, it looks like zoning board member Robert Ahn (D) and State Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D) are moving on to the final round. With that out of the way, here’s the rest of the electoral news that you might have missed yesterday.

Polling Update: We are still trying to raise a little more money for our poll. We are out in the field calling right now in GA-6 but we still need a few more dollars from donations to cover everything. If you haven’t done so already please help us by clicking HERE to donate to our polling fund. Any extra money we raise will get rolled into the next poll which hopefully will be the GA-6 general election.


Chelsea: For those of you who aren’t completely plugged into the DC zeitgeist, it might come as a surprise that The Hill is obsessed with Chelsea Clinton. Well, they are, and here’s some evidence; they’re talking about her running in 2020. You heard that right. This is one of their prime concerns right now. Maybe her denial will force them to come up with new material. And we here at RRH just thought her running was nothing but an April Fool’s joke!


ME-Sen: Sen. King Angus I (I) has a new challenger to his throne. State Sen. Erick Brakey (R), who has a liberty flavor to him, has announced a bid for the seat in 2018. Maine moved rightward in 2016, but I still see King Angus winning handily.

GA-06: It turns out that like many parachuted candidates, Jon Ossoff (D) does not live in the district for which he is running. He handled the problem fairly well, but you have to wonder that with this and other instances, whether we might be heading for British norms on district residency.

VA-01: The headline writer got this one right. A bid against Rob Wittman by the Chairman of the Prince William County School Board is indeed a long shot. Nevertheless, Ryan Sawyers (D) is still making the attempt. He looks like a definite ‘in case of wave’ candidate.


SC-Gov: Catherine Templeton (R), one of Nikki Haley’s former appointees and a union-busting attorney, has announced a run for Governor. Henry McMaster (R) is currently Governor, having been elevated upon Haley’s appointment as UN Ambassador. He intends to run for a full term, so we have a primary on our hands. Given precedent, it could get very nasty.

VA-Gov: Sen. and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (D-Little Red Schoolhouse) has endorsed former Rep. Tom Perriello (D) in the primary for Governor. At this point, I think Perriello might be favored against Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D).


Colorado Springs: So supposedly the nonpartisan elections went very well for liberals in Colorado Springs. It was bound to happen sometime in this increasingly rural v. urban environment, but that doesn’t stop it from feeling like the end of an era.

FL-Election Law: The Sunshine State is passing a package of changes to election law. Most are wonky adjustments, but one provision limits judicial extensions of poll hours.

PA-Redistricting: Here’s more on Maryland’s proposed redistricting compact, this time from Pennsylvania’s perspective. This isn’t any less laughable than when you first heard about it.

TN-Leg: Naughty, naughty! It appears that a slew of Tennessee state legislators may have been reimbursed by the state for items that they also list as being bought with campaign money. I’m sure well be hearing more about this one in the future.

Pennsylvania in 2022: Keep Your Dems to Yourself

The Keystone State will likely have to cut another seat after the 2020 census. Republicans will almost surely control both houses of the state legislature in 2021. They may or may not control the governor’s mansion, but that may not matter much. As is general practice in Pennsylvania, Republican lawmakers will hand Rep. Bob Brady a map of the Philadelphia area and let him draw whatever he wants that includes three districts-worth of population. They will also let him do this with the legislative maps for Philadelphia and its inner suburbs. In exchange, Brady’s machine will make sure to keep Democratic strongholds in the suburbs in Philadelphia-based seats so that Republicans in SEPA will have fairly safe districts. They may also be bribed persuaded to vote for the Republican congressional map. Therefore, even if a Democrat is Governor, the Republicans will likely be in the driver’s seat when it comes to congressional redistricting. This will leave Republicans with two choices: cut one of their own, or endanger multiple Republicans by cracking a Democratic district. At the request of my longtime friend RRR, I have grudgingly taken the extra time to include pictures that show roads and city/town names. As with previous maps, I’ve underpopulated and overpopulated districts to reflect approximately how I think they will grow relative to the state overall. Care was taken to respect city and township lines. Before we begin, it should also be noted that in 2012, every Republican-held district in the state moved more to the right than the country did. Also of note, four of the five Democrat-held districts moved farther to the left of the country (the exception was Matt Cartwright’s PA-17, which stayed relatively static). The Big Sort continues.

Door #1: Play It Safe..


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Philly (Center City, South Philly, West Philly), DelCo, MontCo; Underpopulated by 228; 54.2% White VAP; 77.9% Ob; In 2012, this district stampeded to the left; its 2012 PVI was six points to the left of its 2008 PVI. I think that this was partially due to self-sorting and partially due to the Obama campaign apparatus. I had to add some population, and the bases that control the 7th and 13th had to be considered (I did add Media and another township in DelCo as well). Therefore, I had to go into MontCo. Daylin Leach, the Bold Progressive state senator, now lives in this district. I’d love to see him run for it when Bob Brady retirees just to see Leach get squashed by the Philly Democratic machine.


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Philly (West Philly, North Philly), MontCo; Overpopulated by 34,584; 56.0% Black VAP; 89.5% Ob; I know that Chaka Kahn Fattah wants to have Lower Merion Township in his district for some reason, but removing Cheltenham from the 13th and putting it in the 2nd is just too much of a win-win in my view. On the one hand, it deprives MontCo Democrats in the 13th of their biggest single source of primary voters, which advantages Brendan Boyle and any Northeast Philly pol who might succeed him. On the other hand, because’s its black population is fairly large, the addition of Cheltenham to the 2nd doesn’t drop that district’s Black VAP very much. Also, Norristown has to go into some Philadelphia-based Democratic seat. If it was in the 1st, the 2nd would have to take either the Abington area (possible, but I don’t think that Fattah would like it and it would result in a lower Black VAP) or take more of Philly from the 1st, which could weaken the machine’s hold over that seat. I don’t know if Brady will use this configuration for the first two seats, but it’s the best that I could come up with.


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Erie, Beaver Valley, Southwestern Pennsylvania, Northwestern Pennsylvania; Overpopulated by 8,811; 51.3% Mc;  Mike Kelly takes most of the Erie County territory that he lost in the current map, but he still gets an R+6 seat that may be more Republican by the time that 2022 rolls around.


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York County, Gettysburg, Harrisburg; Underpopulated by 23,448;  54.9% Mc; Scott Perry trades a lot of his Cumberland County territory for other Harrisburg suburbs and nearby rural areas in Dauphin County. This may seem like an area where a seat might not need to be underpopulated. However, growth in the Harrisburg area and southern York County (where many Baltimore commuters are moving in) provides for decent growth in this district.


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Central Pennsylvania, Northwestern Pennsylvania, Southwestern Pennsylvania; Overpopulated by 19,319; 54.1% Mc; However much they might have liked the job that Obama was doing in Philadelphia, Central Pennsylvania was not amused. PA-05 moved four points to the right relative to the country between 2008 and 2012, making it the district in the state that moved the farthest to the right between those two elections. Glenn Thompson gets a safer district by dropping most of his Erie County territory back into Mike Kelly’s lap. “Hey, I’m just holding it for a friend, man!” He picks up some conservadems in Cambria County to help out Keith Rothfus.


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ChesCo, MontCo, BerksCo, Lebanon County; Underpopulated by 21,587; 51.6% Ob; This seat moves to the right by 1.6%. That should pretty much make it a fortress. This version probably has a little too much of Berks County, but I was trying to keep the Coatesville corridor out of the district. The Main Line should still control the district, especially since a good chunk of the McCain voters in Berks County are registered Democrats.


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DelCo, ChesCo, BerksCo, LanCo; Overpopulated by 38,453; 51.6% Ob; This district actually moves 0.4% to the left. That’s due to the inclusion of the Coatesville area in Chester County, but it had to go somewhere. It should still be a pretty Republican district, though. This is SEPA, after all.


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BucksCo, MontCo; Underpopulated by 33,573; 53.2% Ob; The district adds more of Montgomery County, but the 2008 numbers stay the same. That means that right now, this configuration clocks in at a R+1 two-election PVI average. Democrats barely managed to take this seat when it was D+2 and they were having one of their best years in a g
eneration, so this seat is fairly safe for a competent Republican. Again, this is SEPA.


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Central Pennsylvania, Southwestern Pennsylvania, Harrisburg; Overpopulated by 24,595; 57.1% Mc; I just laugh thinking that those progressive government workers in Harrisburg might be represented by Bill Shuster. I’m sure that Shuster wouldn’t like it, but he’s getting unpopular enough that he keeps getting a primary scare every cycle. He’s not in much of a position to object, especially because he still gets the safest Republican seat in the state.


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Central Pennsylvania, Northeastern Pennsylvania; Overpopulated by 20,143; 56.0% Mc; Assuming that both Tom Marino and Lou Barletta were still in Congress in 2021, they’d have to duke it out for this safe district. I’d put the smart money on Marino in such a fight because he’d have the geographic advantage. That matters a lot in a district as parochial as this one.


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Northeastern Pennsylvania, Lehigh Valley; Overpopulated by 8,630;  58.7% Ob; This is the sticking point of this map. It sucks-up Democrats even more efficiently than Lionel Hutz’s Matt Cartwright’s current district does. Not only does it include most of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, but it also keeps the arm into Northampton County that contains Easton and the most conservadem-heavy parts of Holdengrad (Schuylkill County). However, the trade-off is that the GOP loses a seat.


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Southwestern Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Beaver Valley; Overpopulated by 18,006; 53.5% Mc; This seat moves about 0.6% to the left by 2008 numbers. However, since it galloped two points to the right in 2012, Keith Rothfus or his successor is pretty safe.


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Northeast Philly, MontCo; Underpopulated by 14,078; 62.0% Ob; When Brendan Boyle won the Democratic nomination for this seat last month, he pretty much decided who was going to draw the congressional maps in 2021. If a candidate from Montgomery County had won the primary, Bob Brady might have decided not to play along with the Republicans. However, Boyle’s victory constitutes the Philadelphia Democratic machine’s recovery of it’s third seat, which it lost to redistricting after 2000. The machine will do everything that it can to retain the seat. That means that Brady will work with Republicans to ensure that all three Philly-based seats have sizable Philly-majority electorates in their Democratic primaries.


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Pittsburgh; Overpopulated by 389; 66.5% Ob; If PA-01 stampeded to the left in 2012, then this district galloped that way. It’s PVI that year was four points more Democratic than it was in 2008. As in PA-01, I think that the Obama turnout operation explains this partially, but not wholly. Pittsburgh has quietly been growing a hipster and liberal yuppie scene for a few years now, spurred on in part by Carnegie-Melon, Pitt, and Duquesne.


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Lehigh Valley, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Lebanon County, Central Pennsylvania; Overpopulated by 962; 52.1% Ob; This seat’s 2008 numbers stay the same. That means that it’s two-election PVI is R+2, more than enough to keep Charlie Dent safe. As long as Republicans nominate a competent non-firebreather, they’ll hold this seat.


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LanCo, BerksCo, Harrisburg, Lebanon County; Underpopulated by 31,933; 51.0% Mc; I’m going to call it now and say that Joe Pitts isn’t going to be in Congress by 2021. I’ll even go one step further and guarantee that his replacement will hail from Lancaster County. This district takes in the most populous parts of LanCo and parts of other counties that needed to be removed from those other counties for primary, general election, and population reasons.


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Southwestern Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh; Overpopulated by 27,551; 55.1% Mc; Tim Murphy’s 18th becomes the 17th. I honestly hope that by 2021, the seat will be occupied by a Republican other than Tim Murphy.

Door #2: Go for Broke…


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Northeastern Pennsylvania, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; Overpopulated by 26,563; 50.6% Ob; I only had to change PA-10, PA-11, and PA-15 for this section. Tom Marino would get to have this seat to himself, but he’d have to campaign well in the general election to keep it. 2008 numbers only show this to be R+3, but it moved a point to the right in 2012. By 2022, it might be R+5.


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Northeastern Pennsylvania, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Lehigh Valley; Overpopulated by 3,411; 50.0% Ob; This seat moved a point rightward in 2012 as well. I took a bit of a flyer and predicted another spurt of growth in Monroe and Perry Counties near the end of the decade (even though there’s been slight negative growth in the past few years). Barletta should be able to hold this in most years, but it, like the above version of the 10th, could fall to a strong Democrat in a decently blue  year.


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Lehigh Valley, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Lebanon County; Underpopulated by 239; 53.2% Ob; This district moves a point to the left of the current version. Dent could hold it easily. It of course moved rightward in 2012 and would still be R+low, but a good conservadem (Tim Holden?) could pick it up if it was open.

Bonus #1: Operation Liberation…

Philly Area:

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BucksCo, MontCo, Northeast Philly; Underpopulated by 33,613; 51.3% Ob; If Mike Fitzpatrick (who will be gone after 2016 if he keeps his term-limits pledge) is replaced by a Republican from Central Bucks or Upper Bucks, this configuration of the 8th would be possible and probably prefered. It’s two points to the right of the current district, which means it would have been R+4 in 2012. Not only would a non-Lower Bucks Republican probably prefer to have more of MontCo, but he or she would likely also prefer to have the more conservative sections of Philadelphia. There would be a good chance that most of his opponents would come from Philly, making the general election even easier in some years. The PVI cushion is pretty nice, too.


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Northeast Philly, MontCo, BucksCo; Underpopulated by 14,038; 64.0% Ob; Philly residents would still be the majority in this district in this configuration (to say nothing of the Democratic primary). What’s more, Lower Bucks would seem to be a great fir for an ethnic machine Democrat like Brendan Boyle. As an added bonus, any anti-Philly machine opposition would be split between two counties. I think that Brady and Boyle might be persuaded to go with this version.

Bonus #2: No Guts, No Glory…

SWPA and Central Pennsylvania:

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All six of these seats were won by John McCain. Each one of them probably moved at least slightly rightward in 2012, though less so in the case of the four seats used to crack the current 14th. The rest of the map would not have been affected. I don’t think that cracking Pittsburgh would be viable in 2021. The seats are shaky and have sizable amounts of conservadems. However, I think that this map proves that Pittsburgh will be easily crackable by 2030, not 2040 as some have suggested. That’s good, because Pennsylvania will probably need to cut another seat.

Questions? Comments? Nasty remarks?

P.S. If you don’t get the song reference in the title, here you go:

Afternoon Political Roundup for June 8th, 2012


Economy I: Romney has called the President “out of touch” because of his comments today. President Obama said “the private sector is just doing fine” even as only 69K jobs were added last month. The decline in our unemployment rate has been due not to growth in the private sector, but rather people are leaving the workforce. The standard of living for middle class Americans has declined during the Obama years.  I say let's rumble right now between Romney and Obama over whether the private sector is in fine shape or not. Does the President really want to get into an arguement over how well the economy is doing? In case Romney needs help here is a link to an article detailing the layoff of 2500 union store employees in California. Those employees are certainly not “doing just fine.”

Economy II: Young people need jobs. I wonder if the 1.7 million young people who have given up looking for jobs think that “the private sector is doing just fine?”


Nebraska: The Kerrey campaign has been profiled in this piece from Bloomberg. Kerrey is quoted as saying “It's not likely anyone contributing to me is saying 'I'm going to contribute to him because I think he is going to win.'” That is a real rallying call to supporters. On a happier note Kerry did buy this house. I hope that picture is one of the back of the house.  

Utah: Romney will slip into Salt Lake City tonight for a photo op with Senator Hatch. Mitt has already endorsed Hatch even as the Senator's primary foe was a fellow employee at Bain Capital. I might add Romney will be in town for a high dollar fundraiser for his own campaign.


IL-13: WAA polled this race and found Republican Davis ahead of Democrat Gill by 47-38. Thanks to LCL for posting this poll and as today has been slow as far as new polls this could be it for today.


Kansas: Federal judges have released new maps for Kansas. Are we done for 2012? There is a PA panel meeting today on legislative maps but they will almost certainly be for 2014 and not 2012. Unless we see some sort of court surprise I think lines are in place for this fall. I might add I believe only legislative lines in Pennsylvania, Maine and Kentucky need to be finalized for 2014.

Pennsylvania: The redistricting commission referenced in the post above met and voted on plans. I assume there will be court fights and once lines are analyzed we will get a list of winners and losers. I assume that since the GOP members all voted yes it is a good set of plans for Republicans.


Texas: Everything is bigger in the Lone Star State. The GOP convention has drawn a big crowd and the GOP Senate runoff was a hot topic.  I hope we will see a complete update from our onsite blogger this weekend.

Drawing Pennsylvania- a 153 Member State House Map of the Keystone State

Recently, the 203 member Pennsylvania State House voted to shrink its size in the next decennial redistricting cycle by 50 members to 153. The Senate is expected to approve the shrinkage of the House and Governor Corbett is expected to sign it.

I decided to see how a 153 district map would affect the makeup of the legislature. Incumbency was not taken into account. My map is a Republican gerrymander that focuses on minimizing county, borough, and township splits… for example, I could have easily cracked State College and York but instead kept them whole and slapped them along with the reddest territory possible. Almost everywhere possible, I used the absolute fewest possible county splits (Chester County had an unnecessary split as did two counties around State College. . . you’ll see why). In PA, it seems that Republicans and Democrats compete competing legislative proposals, just like in New Jersey. A panel of judges picks the maps that will be used. The GOP’s maps were far more tame than the Democrats’ maps and they were picked… but later scrapped arguably due to caving to western Pennsylvanian interests. For whatever reason, Western PA Democrats couldn’t wrap their heads around the fact that their area is shrinking will Southeastern PA is growing, and were angry when they lost seats in reapportionment. Anyway, due to the Democratic support base being far more packed into more densely Democratic areas than the generally spread out Republican vote is, Democrats have to go crazy with county and township splits to draw a map that gives them a real chance at a sustainable majority. Therefore, I feel like as if my map would be more attractive to judges picking between two gerrymanders.

Race ratings were created mathematically. They were created using a model that took into account the Obama percentages of seats that were won and lost by the GOP in the 2008 and 2010 waves. Therefore, there are race ratings for a GOP wave year and a Democratic wave year. One problem about this is that it takes seats like the ones in NE Philly and rates them like suburban SEPA, where seats of up to 60% Obama seem to be held by Republicans, but seats at even 55% in NE Philly would be tough to hold or pick up. Since this is a state as politically (and all-around) quirky as Pennsylvania, analytic ratings are subject to be way off so I decided to go with a statistical model using actual data.

At first, I assigned the districts to either SWPA, SEPA or everything else based on the county the most constituents in the seat live in. The areas roughly in Altmire’s, Critz’s, Doyle’s and Murphy’s seat were SWPA, whereas Philly, the collar counties, Lehigh, York, Northampton and Lebanon were SEPA.

Then, I calculated three separate logistic regressions on the old State House seats in these areas, with the dependent variable “held by a Dem after 2010” (1/0) and a constant and Obama 2-way vote. The parameters of this regression were then applied to the new seats to calculate the likelihood that a Democrat would have won the seat in 2010. The probabilities were grouped as “Less than 5% chance of loss for favored party”=Safe

“5-20% chance of loss for favored party”=Likely

“20-40% chance of loss for favored party”=Lean

“40-50% chance of loss for favored party”=Toss-Up.

Anyway, as always, feel free to comment and enjoy! I can’t wait to move to Haverford Township, Delaware County in the fall.

Districts and ratings are below the fold.

Philadelphia County:




RRR’s Race Ratings: LD-01 and LD-02 lean R in neutral years. LD-03 is somewhere between leans/likely D, but it contains parts of Philly I imagine may even trend right. The rest are safe D.

Delaware County:




Chester County:




Note: I split Lower Merion Township in half. Why? The upper half of Lower Merion is the more swingy half, with plenty of Republican leaning voters in Gladwyne, Rosemont, Villanova. That part still votes for moderate Republicans. The lower half (Bala Cynwyd, Merion, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Penn Valley, etc.) won’t vote GOP under any circumstances.

Montgomery/Bucks Counties:




Lehigh Valley:




Note: I packed the most Democratic precincts of Allentown and Bethlehem into one seat and the most Democratic precincts of Allentown into another seat. The moderate precincts (where I’m sure Charlie Dent lives) were given to Republican seats. Also, I realize I probably split Easton, but it seems to be the Lehigh Valley’s metaphorical “redheaded stepchild” anyway (seeing as it’s generally considered the third most important city in the A-B-E by most people)… I guess that’s the only time I split anything important in this map.

Northeastern Pennsylvania:





Berks and Schuylkill Counties (Note, this was pretty much Tim Holden’s seat through the 1990s):





Lancaster and York Counties:





Harrisburg Area:





Central Pennsylvania:




Southwestern Pennsylvania:





Allegheny County:





Northern Pittsburgh Suburbs/Exurbs:







Northwestern Pennsylvania:




Erie County:




Well, that’s about it, folks. Here are two graphs that show the likelihood of a Democratic majority in a 2008 and 2010 style year. 2008 is a worst case scenario and 2010 is a best case scenario.



In lay man’s terms, the probability that Democrats control the House in a 2008-like year is about 15% and about 0% in 2010. Statistically speaking, chances are they control it by about 1 or 2 seats if they control it at all. Judging by the current war in the PA Democratic party between Philadelphia and non-Philadelphia interests (just look at how Bob Brady rallied Philly Dems to vote for a Republican Congressional map because the GOP let him draw his district), well… So, even in a Democratic mega-wave, Republicans should be favored to keep the House.

As a parting gift, here are some views of the various parts of the state under my map without district numbers. 🙂

Oh, and in case I forgot any seats, complete race rating charts are at the very end of the diary.


The Delaware Valley (SEPA):



Central PA:










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