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More Pa. Republicans Try to Halt New District Map

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    Note the brownish-red section of the old map. Dubbed "Goofy Kicking Donald Duck," the former 7th congressional district was one of the most gerrymandered in the U.S.

    Less than one week after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a new congressional map, candidates from both parties are scrambling to make sense of entirely new, and unexpected, political races. 

    Republican representatives Ryan Costello, Lou Barletta, Lloyd Smucker and others filed a complaint Thursday in U.S. District Court over the new congressional map, which was unveiled by the state supreme court Monday. 

    In the latest filing, Republicans accuse the Pennsylvania Supreme Court of violating a law that gives the state legislator control over redistricting and "mandates that the General Assembly be afforded an 'adequate opportunity' to craft a substitute plan should an initial plan be stricken for any reason."

    Thursday's filing points out that the new map "destroyed any incumbency advantage" Costello once held in Chester County. His new district now includes Reading and some of southern Berks County, area in which he is not necessarily known.

    "It puts me in almost entirely new territory," he told the Reading Eagle.

    In a separate lawsuit filed Wednesday, Republicans asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block the new map and accused Democrats of partisan gerrymandering. 

    House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said the state's highest court usurped legislative authority when it issued the new map on Monday, calling it an unprecedented decision.

    "The Pennsylvania Supreme Court conspicuously seized the redistricting process and prevented any meaningful ability for the Legislature to enact a remedial map to ensure a court drawn map,'' they wrote in an electronic filing.

    Meanwhile, Congressman Brendan Boyle announced via Facebook that he will seek re-election in Philadelphia’s new 2nd District, not Montgomery County’s 4th District.

    “I am running for re-election in the place where I was born, raised and lived,” he said. “I know my friends, supporters, and constituents in Montgomery County who reached out to me this week and asked me to run in Montco will be disappointed with my decision.”

    Democratic State Rep. Madeleine Dean also announced Thursday that she is dropping her bid for lieutenant governor and instead running for Congress in Montgomery County. She previously represented Abington and Upper Dublin.

    “Pennsylvania sends 18 Congressmen and two Senators to represent us in Washington, and not one of them – not one – is a woman,” she said in a statement.

    “We have a Republican-controlled Congress that isn’t doing its part to hold Donald Trump accountable – a majority that is undermining the education of our children, a woman’s right to choose, a delegation that refuses to support common sense gun safety measures.”

    Dean said she made the decision after receiving encouragement from both former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

    Boyle represents the former 13th District, which comprised portions of both Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. The newly unveiled 2nd District just represents Philly while the updated 4th District is exclusively Montco.

    Democrats have largely seen the recent redistricting as swinging between three to six seats. 

    Gerrymandering is what caused the Pennsylvania court to issue a new map in the first place. The previous map was drawn up in 2010 along partisan lines after Republicans swept the governor’s seat and gained several seats in the legislature.

    News came out Thursday that conservative super PAC, America First Action, is launching a $1 million ad-buy in support of state Rep. Rick Saconne in the former 18th District. He is running against 33-year-old Democrat and former Marine Conor Lamb. That race that will not be immediately impacted by the new map.