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Pennsylvania Supreme Court's new congressional map to impact local races



HARRISBURG -- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has released a new congressional redistricting map for the upcoming general election after it ruled the previous map unconstitutional in January.

The Supreme Court did not use any of the eight submitted maps and came up with a "remedial map" of its own.

“Over the last month, I have personally heard from thousands of Pennsylvanians and they are sick and tired of gerrymandering, which perpetuates gridlock, alienates citizens and stifles reform," said Gov. Tom Wolf.

"I applaud the court for their decision and I respect their effort to remedy Pennsylvania’s unfair and unequal congressional elections."

The new map will have heavy impact for local candidates running for Congress.

Rep. Keith Rothfus would no longer represent Johnstown, with the city now in the district outgoing Rep. Bill Shuster oversees.

Johnstown is one of the lone areas in that county that falls under Shuster's district, with the majority of the county to be now represented by Centre County-based Rep. Glenn Thomspon.

Thompson's district sees some changes as he adds parts of Cambria County, but now sees a portion of Centre County and all of Clinton County under different representation.

As for the race to replace Shuster, who announced in January he would not seek re-election, several candidates that announced bids would no longer be in the district include House Majority leader Dave Reed, who if he still decides to run for Congress would be pitted against Thompson.

Two other candidates would also no longer be in the race to replace Shuster. Democrats Adam Sedlock (Fayette County) and Susan Boser (Indiana County) would reside in different districts.

Sedlock said Monday that he is meeting with his committee Monday night to discuss their options.

Sen. John Eichelberger, who is running to replace Shuster, said Monday that the legislature is likely to challenge the map in court and the original plan is to ask for a stay.

He did say that if the new map does stand, it would push the distirct in more east and include Adams and Cumberland counties as in past versions of the map.

The court's map would also sway the power in the U.S. House as Pennsylvania Republicans currently have 13 of the 18 congressional seats, but under this map that number would likely see more Democrats gain seats.

On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said it is very likely to GOP leaders will challenge the map in federal court.

Monday's map will not impact a special election to replace 18th District representative Tim Murphy, who resigned last year. The court's map will be in effect for the primary election taking place May 15.

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