Redrawing congressional district lines falls to state legislators.
Unlike a lot of their competing priorities, it must be done by the end of the year to be ready for early primaries in April.
Redistricting has been one verse of a chorus of legislative priorities repeated by Pennsylvania Republican leaders–and the governor.
But the Republican chair of the state Senate committee charged with redrawing district lines, Sen. Chuck McIlhinney of Bucks and Montgomery counties, says putting a map together won’t distract the Legislature from other urgent agenda items this fall.
“It might take the actual week that we vote on it in Harrisburg could gobble up some time, just on a procedural standpoint,” he said. “But other than that, I don’t think that Marcellus Shale’s going to get pushed back or any of the other policies for Pennsylvania are going to get pushed back because we’re in some deadlock over the congressional seats.”
He says the predictable partisan rancor won’t be in full effect as legislators eliminate one of the state’s 19 congressional districts.
“You have 18 seats across Pennsylvania, you have to fill out the map, and … we’re not talking about our House and our Senate maps, which will draw a lot more controversy than the congressional maps,” he said.
Pennsylvania will lose one of its 19 congressional districts because its population didn’t grow much compared with the rest of the country.
McIlhinney says which district that will be is anyone’s guess, but it will likely be in the southwestern part of the state where population declined there, according to the 2010 Census.