Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Unveiled Reapportionment Plan Causes Concern for Candidates

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Unveiled Reapportionment Plan Causes Concern for Candidates

Article excerpt

Trudging door to door Saturday afternoon in an Upper St. Clair neighborhood, Republican state Senate candidate D. Raja found some supporters doing yard work.

Peggy and Steve Snavely paused to greet the political contender and told him they were on his side. "We wish you were county executive," said Mr. Snavely, who owns a lumber business.

Mr. Raja headed back to his waiting staffer, describing the couple as "definite Raja."

But, unfortunately for the Raja campaign, neither he nor the Snavelys will live in the 37th Senatorial District in two years if the legislative boundaries unveiled last week go through as drafted.

The new district lines drew criticism from Sue Means, another candidate who would be excluded under the maps. She noted that lawmakers supporting the only candidate who would be included in the revised district also voted on the plan.

One of those lawmakers, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R- Bradford Woods, has endorsed state Rep. Mark Mustio, a Moon Republican who would still live in the Senate district. Mr. Turzai donated $5,000 to Mr. Mustio and hosted a breakfast fundraiser, according to finance reports.

Additionally, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R- Delaware, contributed $100,000 to Mr. Mustio. The Senate map he proposed would have left Ms. Means' Bethel Park home in the district but exclude Mr. Raja, who lives in Mt. Lebanon.

Mr. Raja and Ms. Means aren't the only candidates who could find themselves living outside of their legislative district. A similar situation could arise in the 15th Senatorial District, which includes part of Dauphin County.

Also, in the 16th House District, which includes portions of Allegheny and Beaver counties, Republican candidate Kathleen Coder of Bellevue would be in a different district.

The primary election will proceed under the existing legislative maps.

The new maps are the result of the state Supreme Court in January rejecting a plan for updated districts based on the 2010 census.

The original updates approved in December also would have evicted Mr. Raja's hometown of Mt. Lebanon from the 37th District, currently represented by retiring GOP Sen. …

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