Tom Wolf says no to GOP on congressional map. What's next?

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Montgomery County would be divided among four Congressional Districts instead of five under a court ordered redistricting plan proposed by republican leaders in Harrisburg.

Hours before the state Supreme Court-imposed deadline expired Friday night, Republican legislative leaders submitted drafts of a new congressional map to Governor Tom Wolf.

That means the state Supreme Court will likely handle redrawing new congressional lines and it would have until February 19 to draw the new map.

Top Republican leaders, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and House Speaker Mike Turzai, accused Wolf of trying to apply standards that were outside of the court's order and challenged him to produce his own map.

"I concluded that the proposed (Republican) plan's bias in favor of Republicans is extremely unlikely to have come about by chance", Duchin wrote in a statement Wolf's office released to accompany the governor's rejection of the Republican leaders' plan.

There is nothing to stop whichever political party is in the majority then from drawing maps which some future court may declare equally unfair and created to benefit one party or the other.

"This reminds me of what happened in Florida in 2012, where the state legislature drew maps under new constitutional anti-gerrymandering requirements", Amos said. But some strategists in the state believe that while Democrats will benefit in some targeted districts, new lines could still raise the prospects for some vulnerable Republicans.

The 15th District, for example, returns to being a Lehigh Valley district, with most of Carbon County thrown in.

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But the district became Exhibit A in the case against the process, and the scorn of those who claimed the entire process was "gerrymandered", rigged by those drawing up the new borders to favor their own party.

As directed by the Supreme Court, the new map is much more compact than the old one.

Wolf rejected Friday's GOP proposal, saying it still contains unconstitutionally partisan tactics. "We continue to hope that a bipartisan consensus will emerge to give residents what they want - the end to gerrymandered districts and legislative boundaries that are more reflective of our diverse state", said Micah Sims, Executive Director of Common Cause Pennsylvania.

If the state court agrees with the governor's opposition, the court itself is likely to take on the task of drafting new election boundaries.

Duchin's analysis compared the Republican map with millions of computer-drawn ones that did not take partisanship into account.

"A few weeks ago, when we started talking about this, we didn't at all anticipate that it would be on the heels of a Pennsylvania supreme court decision, so we could not have timed that any better", he said.

State Republicans appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to put a hold on the enforcement of the Pennsylvania high court's order.

Some of those lopsided results - such as in the 6th and 7th districts - are in Southeast Pennsylvania where the voter registration trend has been moving away from Republicans and towards Democrats.

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