Pennsylvania Governor Rejects GOP Proposal For New Congressional Map

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) rejected top Republicans’ proposal for a new congressional map in his state Tuesday, saying the plan continued to be an unacceptable partisan gerrymander.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the state’s current congressional map in January, saying it so unfairly gave the GOP an advantage in the state that it violated Pennsylvania’s constitution. The court gave Republicans and the governor until Feb. 15 to agree on a map, but said it would draw a map on its own if they could not reach an agreement.

“The analysis by my team shows that, like the 2011 map, the map submitted to my office by Republican leaders is still a gerrymander,” Wolf said in a statement. “Their map clearly seeks to benefit one political party, which is the essence of why the court found the current map to be unconstitutional.”

In a Feb. 7 opinion, the court offered Republicans some guidance on how they needed to make the congressional map more fair. At a minimum, the court said, the map needed to be compact and contiguous, maintain roughly equal populations in each district and not unnecessarily split communities. Lawmakers could not value partisanship over those criteria, the court said.

House Speaker Michael Turzai (R) and Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati (R) offered a proposal to Wolf on Friday that they said complied with the court’s guidelines. Several analyses immediately pointed out that their proposal, which was not voted on by the legislature, maintained a severe Republican advantage. 

Moon Duchin, a Tufts University mathematician Wolf hired to evaluate the plan, said she analyzed the map using the court’s criteria and found “there is no more than a 0.1 percent chance that a plan drafted to comply with the court’s factors would have been as favorable to Republicans as is the proposed Joint Submission Plan.”

In her analysis, the only plan that stood out with more of a partisan skew was the congressional map currently…

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