Saturday, March 17, 2018

Will Lamb And Saccone Wind Up Both Serving In Congress Next Year?


The old gerrymandered map is on top and the new ungerrymandered map is below

When the Pennsylvania Supreme Court moved to ungerrymander the state, the Pittsburgh area changed considerably. The city itself, PA-14 didn't change too much other than being re-numbered from PA-14 to PA-18. The PVI went from D+17 to a still very safe D+13, extra Democrats going to the newly created PA-17 which was formerly Republican Keith Rothfus' safe red seat (PA-12). The old PVI was R+11 and the new PVI is a very competitive R+3. That leaves the sprawling PA-18 district Conor Lamb just won. It's been cut down quite a bit and one of the areas cut out of the district is Lamb's hometown, Mount Lebanon. So what was a blood red district with a PVI of R+11 is now... and even worse R+14 (re-numbered PA-14).

The incumbent in the new PA-18 (Pittsburg's old PA-14) is Democrat Mike Doyle and he should have zero problem being reelected. Technically the incumbent in the new redder PA-14 Is Lamb but no one thinks he'll run there again. And the incumbent in the very red old PA-12 (now the competitive PA-17) is Keith Rothfus, basically a dead man walking. And that's where Lamb's home in and where Lamb will run, even though very few few of Rothfus' constituents were part of the old PA-18 who just participated in the election that put Lamb into office.

Right now there are 4 Democrats campaigning against Rothfus in the new 17th,  Elizabeth Tarasi, Aaron Anthony, Raymond Linsenmayer and Erin McClelland. The district includes Beaver County, part of Cranberry Township in Butler County, and northern and western portions of Allegheny County; it would have gone for Trump by just 2.5 percentage points. Lamb filed papers Wednesday seeking the Beaver County Democratic Party's endorsement in the new 17th. The Beaver County Democratic Committee plans to endorse a candidate next Thursday.

Meanwhile, Rick Saccone-- despite being blamed for his own loss on Tuesday, despite being derided for his "porn mustache" and despite not living in the new district-- is already circulating petitions to run in PA-14 (which includes half, including all the reddest parts of the district, he just lost). Republican State Senator Guy Reschenthaler is also running there. Reschenthaler doesn't live in the district either. The Democrat with the best-- the only-- chance to win in that race is Tom Prigg, who had been running against Rothfus, but decided to switch to the district he grew up in (Washington) after the new boundaries were announced and after Lamb made it clear he would take on Rothfus. (Prigg and Lamb are both veterans and although Prigg is much more progressive than Lamb, he had put a lot of time and energy into campaigning for him over the last month.) The establishment Democrat in the race, if she can get enough signatures by Tuesday, is Bibiana Boerio.

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