– The state Legislative Reapportionment Commission (LRC) today approved a preliminary redistricting map for the state House of Representatives and Senate. The vote to accept the preliminary plan for the new House map passed with a 3-2 vote with Chairman Mark Nordenberg voting in favor of the maps. Following the vote, Rep. Rob Mercuri (R-Allegheny) issued this statement.
“The LRC voted in favor of a radically redrawn legislative map for the state House in Pennsylvania that fundamentally and unconstitutionally restructures the Legislature to favor a new Democratic majority. This shift drastically swings the structural advantage by registration and voting history to a projected 106-97 for the Democrats vs. the current Republican majority of 113-90. This would be a historic turn.
“Whomever drafted the maps – and it was not House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff – drafted them with a clear intent to support a Democratic advantage. No other reason can explain the decades of constitutional redistricting precedent being thrown out the window as no fewer than 12 Republican incumbents were drawn into each other’s districts, pitting them in electoral dog fights next year while only two Democrats were treated similarly.
“In addition, multiple safe Democrat seats were drawn into the final map where incumbent Republicans will face a disadvantaged run against them or will be forced into retirement. Even worse, seven seats across the Commonwealth are wide open, with no current legislator to represent them, which will create a swell of partisan opportunism at a time less than desirable.
“This is dangerous! What is more devastating is that the results are disastrous for everyday Pennsylvanians. During this pandemic more people came to rely on their elected representatives than ever before. We legislators forged relationships with our constituents deeper than I thought possible before taking office. It is something clearly misunderstood by the unelected commissioner, who cast today’s tie-breaking vote.
“This is not how Pennsylvania was meant to function and we know it. We have run constitutional, clean and fair races crafted from finely tuned maps for decades. A change this drastic has the potential to destabilize our state from the top down, and fuel the fires of confusion and partisanship that already rage, hurting good governance and fair representation across the state and ultimately diminishing the ability of Pennsylvania’s Legislature to govern effectively.
“I believe we have one alternative: stand up, stand together and let our collective voice be heard. Without question, the preliminary map is an extreme partisan gerrymander, making it unconstitutional and dangerous. Public involvement in the legislative redistricting process from this point forward is critically important. The deadline for exceptions is Jan. 18, 2022. Exceptions can be filed here at Pa Redistricting
“The commission’s maps may be found here