Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Map Changes Face of Regional Politics Incumbents Might Have to Square Off

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Map Changes Face of Regional Politics Incumbents Might Have to Square Off

Article excerpt

HARRISBURG - A new congressional map selected by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court could drastically change races in the western corner of the state, including Pittsburgh and its suburbs.

The heavily Democratic Steel City would now be part of the 18th Congressional District, which would stretch east into Edgewood and Monroeville and south into communities such as Bethel Park and Elizabeth Township.

Its northern and western suburbs, including Sewickley, Fox Chapel and Oakdale, would be combined with Mt. Lebanon and with Beaver County to create a new 17th District.

The redrawing, if it stands up on appeal, has the potential to change congressional races in Western Pennsylvania. While the new 18th District would likely favor Democrats, many election analysts suspect the 17th District would be a competitive race for both Democrats and Republicans.

The new map would not be in place for the March special election in the 18th District. The winner of that race will fill the seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, a Republican, who resigned amid scandal. In that race, state Rep. Rick Saccone, a Republican, is facing off against former federal prosecutor Conor Lamb, a Democrat.

The winner of that race only remains in office through the end of the year. If that person wants to run for re-election, he would have to run in the November general election and win.

But the new map likely would pit both against incumbents.

Congressional candidates are not required to live in the districts in which they are running, but they are often criticized if they don't. Under the U.S. Constitution, the only residency requirement is that a U.S. House member must live within the state he or she is representing.

Mr. Saccone, who is from Elizabeth Township, would be living in the same district as incumbent Democratic Congressman Mike Doyle, who is from Forest Hills.

Mr. Saccone, through his campaign, called the new map an example of "exactly why the judicial branch should not insert itself into the core functions of the legislative branch. …

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