Pennsylvania's New District Map Could Be The Key For Democrats In 2018
Pennsylvania's new congressional map has opened up the primary field and created some very competitive races.
Four states have primary elections on Tuesday, and although voter turnout is typically lower in midterm elections — especially primaries — experts say they expect a different story in Pennsylvania.
"It's almost like Christmas. Everyone likes the new toy, so everyone wants to play with it," said Micah Sims, executive director of the Pennsylvania chapter of Common Cause, a nonpartisan government reform watchdog.
That "new toy" is a new congressional map.
In January, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the previous congressional map was gerrymandered to favor Republicans. The court ended up drawing new district lines after the state's GOP-controlled legislature and Democratic governor couldn't agree on a new map.
The result? A map that could dramatically change the state's congressional delegation and possibly the balance of power in the U.S. House.
"The Democrats have a possibility of picking up four to possibly five seats that, when you add that in to the overall narrative that's happening in the country, could actually mean that Pennsylvania could actually be the place where Congress gets tilted to Democratic leadership," Sims explained.
President Donald Trump narrowly won the state in 2016, and its congressional delegation is mostly Republican now, so the change has generated a lot of national interest.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has been stumping in Pennsylvania for candidates before the state's May 15 primary elections, and super PACs, like Tom Steyer's NextGen America, have spent millions of dollars on political ad campaigns in the state.
Democrats need to flip 23 seats to take control of the House. They won't get all of them in Pennsylvania, but they have a chance to win quite a few, and plenty of candidates could help them succeed.
Nearly 100 people, mostly Democrats, launched congressional bids in the state, and many are running for the first time.
"I think that speaks to the level of interest that people have and the way that these new maps are really causing what we would call responsiveness. People are responding well to the fact that these maps are catered to more communities of interest — they are more compact, they are more continuous, and that's going to help people feel like their voices are going to be heard on election day," Sims said.
All of that excitement around the new map could make May 15 a very competitive day for candidates in Pennsylvania and a very long night for politicos watching the results.
Democratic Sen. Warnock Wins Georgia Runoff Against Walker
With Raphael Warnock's second runoff victory in as many years, Democrats will have a 51-49 Senate majority.By Brynn Anderson / AP
Warnock, Walker: Starkly Different Choices For Black Voters
Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker face off Tuesday in Georgia's runoff election.By Brynn Anderson / AP
What To Watch In Tuesday's Georgia Senate Runoff Election
Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and GOP challenger Herschel Walker will face off in a runoff election Tuesday to wrap up the 2022 midterms.By AP
House Passes Defense Bill Scrapping COVID Vaccine Mandate
The bill provides nearly $858 billion for national defense in addition to taking away a COVID vaccine mandate for U.S. military members.By Ted S. Warren / AP
New Abnormal: Climate Disaster Damage 'Down' To $268 Billion
Many — but not all – weather disasters are being turbocharged by human-caused climate change and are happening more frequently.By Zahid Hussain / AP
Brittney Griner Back Home In U.S. After Russian Prisoner Swap
Griner was seen getting off a plane that landed Friday morning at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas.By Eric Gay / AP