Skip to main content

Since I've drawn just about every Republican gerrymander under the sun, I decided to try a Democratic Pennsylvania. Considering I may be spending my next four years in Lower Merion Township (I'd say about a 40-50% chance I end up in college at a liberal arts college called Haverford in Lower Merion Township), I care deeply about Pennsylvania redistricting.

Anyway, I didn't give any care to what the incumbents would think. I generally kept cities and counties together and drew a map that is a lot cleaner than the current Republican map. The Democrats' ceiling in this map would be 14-4 in a massive wave year.

The one thing I'll say about this map is SWPA could fall apart by 2018 or 2020, but you gerrymander for the decade and not for individual years. Democrats would have a 4-0 for much of the decade in SWPA. If you don't like my SWPA, imagine I conceded a Republican seat and drew 3 safer Democratic seats.

Republicans should thank the lord that the Democrats probably won't have the trifecta for many years in Pennsylvania.

Without further ado, I bring you Pennsylvania.


PA-01 (Brady 58%, Fattah 32%, Schwartz 10%)

Incumbent: Bob Brady (D-Philadelphia)

Stats: Goes from 88% Obama to 82.4% Obama

20.1% Bush, 17.8% Corbett, 16.6% Toomey, 16.4% Ellis, 16.5% Santorum, 11.1% Swann.

Summary: Do I need one? The Fighting First drops all of its DelCo territory.


Rating: Safe D

PA-02 (Fattah 52%, Gerlach 22%, Brady 20%, Meehan 7%)

Incumbent: Chaka Fattah (D-Philadelphia)... and Jim Gerlach (R-West Pikeland Township)

Stats: Goes from 90% Obama to 82.7% Obama

19.5% Bush, 21.8% Corbett, 20.5% Toomey, 19% Ellis, 17.8% Santorum, 12.9% Swann.

Summary: I sent Fattah to Chester County to suck up Republicans from PA-06, and Jim Gerlach's home. Heh, let's just say that I don't think he'd run here.


Rating: Safe D

PA-03 (Kelly 66%, Altmire 33%, Thompson 1%)

Incumbent: Open

Stats: Goes from 49% McCain (slight victory) to 52.5% Obama

48.8% Bush, 55.4% Corbett, 51.2% Toomey, 42.9% Ellis, 41.4% Santorum, 45.3% Swann

Summary: Kelly has a better seat to run for, and wouldn't run here. I'm guessing some Erie Democrat (Kathy Dahlkemper) would probably win this seat, even as it probably will vote narrowly for an R in 2012. This is a pretty ancestrally Democratic seat, and the Beaver County portion was what allowed Jason Altmire to stay in Congress.

Rating: Tilts D in 2012 because it's Western Pennsylvania and an open seat. If Kelly runs here, it's a toss up and maybe it tilts R.


PA-04 (Altmire 48%, Doyle 26%, Critz 12%, Murphy 8%, Shuster 5%)

Incumbent: Jason Altmire (D-McCandless)

Stats: Goes from 55% McCain to 51% Obama.

48.3% Bush, 56.7% Corbett, 51.6% Toomey, 42.3% Ellis, 40.4% Santorum,

Summary: Altmire picks up heavily Democratic parts of Pittsburgh. If any of the SWPA seats in this map have a potential to swing away from Dems quickly, it's this one. However, Altmire would have won by double digits here in 2010, and probably could easily hold this for the decade. I'd trust Altmire over any of the other SWPA Dems here.

Rating: Likely D with Altmire, Leans D when open.


PA-05 (Thompson 45%, Kelly 25%, Altmire 11%, Marino 7%, Critz 6%)

Incumbent: Mike Kelly (R-Butler)

Stats: Goes from 55% McCain to 60.7% McCain

64% Bush, 71.2% Corbett, 67.3% Toomey, 58.6% Ellis, 53.5% Santorum, 57.3% Swann

Summary: While GT Thompson doesn't live here, he would run here against Kelly in a primary. This seat splits their Republican territory pretty nicely, and the winner would get one sweet seat.

Rating: Safe R


PA-06 (Gerlach 66%, Meehan 115%, Pitts 10%, Holden 3%, Schwartz 3%)

Incumbent: Open, but Jim Gerlach (R-West Pikeland Township) would run here.

Stats: Goes from 58% Obama to 60.7% Obama

44.8% Bush, 49.4% Corbett, 43.2% Ellis, 38% Santorum, 30.5% Rendell

Summary: Gerlach picks up the rest of Reading and loses his base to Fattah (lol). He would have lost this seat in 2006 and 2008, no matter what Ryan_in_SEPA says about the primary electorate nominating a far left candidate in a SEPA seat like this.

Rating: Leans/Likely D in 2012 against Gerlach, heavily likely D when open.


PA-07 (Meehan 73%, Pitts 14%, Brady 10%, Gerlach 3%)

Incumbents: Pat Meehan (R-Drexel Hill) and Joe Pitts (D-Kennett Square)

Stats: Goes from 56% Obama to 58.8% Obama.

44.6% Bush, 49.2% Corbett, 46% Toomey, 46.4% Ellis, 39.8% Santorum, 27.9% Swann

Summary: Meehan picks up the rest of Delaware County and Democratic parts of Chester County. Bryan Lentz may have won this seat in 2010, although Meehan still could have won. Nevertheless, moving this to D+6 likely would sink the popular Meehan. Oh, and Pitts lives here but would never, ever run here.

Rating: Leans D with Meehan, Likely D when open.


PA-08 (Fitzpatrick 89%, Schwartz 8%, Brady 4%)

Incumbent: Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Levittown)

Stats: Goes from 54% Obama to 56% Obama.

46.8% Bush, 53% Corbett, 50.9% Toomey, 46% Ellis, 40.1% Santorum, 28.8% Swann

Summary: Well, Bucks County is never split, so I didn't split it. However, I ran Fitzpatrick into heavily blue parts of Northeast Philadelphia. Good luck, Mike.

Rating: Seeing as Fitzpatrick has possibly two of the worst opponents of any vulnerable Republican incumbent in all 435 districts, I'm going to call this a toss up in 2012. However, he may have lost this seat to Patrick Murphy in 2010. Would Murphy consider switching races? If Dems get a good candidate, this leans D instantly.


PA-09 (Shuster 67%, Platts 29%, Critz 4%)

Incumbent: Bill Shhuster (D-Hollidaysburg)

Stats: Stays at 63% McCain.

68.1% Bush, 73.6% Corbett, 69.9% Toomey, 61.2% Ellis, 56.1% Santorum, 59.4% Swann

Summary: None needed.

Rating: Safe R for anyone not named Bill Sali.


PA-10 (Thompson 41%, Holden 24%, Shuster 13%, Platts 10%, Critz 8%)

Incumbent: GT Thompson (R-Bellefonte) and Tom Marino (R-Williamsport) (Not sure if he lives in an R or D precinct of Williamsport).

Stats: Goes from 55% McCain to 51.7% Obama

54.3% Bush, 60% Corbett, 55.7% Toomey, 45.5% Ellis, 43.6% Santorum, 47.9% Swann

Summary: PA-10 moves from NEPA to central Pennsylvania, and sucks out all of the Democratic precincts/Counties in that part of the state. The only precincts it shares with the current PA-10 are the Democratic parts of Williamsport. Anyway, I doubt Thompson would run here, but he might. These counties have historically been very competitive. Oh, and I bet Jay Paterno would want to run here, being a passionate liberal from State College (unlike his brother Scott, who flopped against Holden in 2004), but his dad's scandal probably stuck a giant dagger in that opportunity.

Rating: Toss Up or maybe Tilts R in 2012.


PA-11 (Barletta 70%, Marino 30%)

Incumbent: Lou Barletta (R-Hazelton)

Stats: Goes from 57% Obama to 56% Obama

48.3% Bush, 52.8% Corbett, 49% Toomey, 38.7% ellis, 38.4% Santorum, 33.7% Swann

Summary: This seat could move right over the course of the decade, but Barletta, an extremely poor fundraiser, would almost certainly lose here in 2012. It probably would stay Democratic for the decade.

Rating: Leans D with Barletta, Likely D when open.


PA-12 (Platts 63%, Pitts 37%)

Incumbent: Todd Platts (R-York)

Stats: Goes from 56% McCain to 53% McCain

62% Bush, 68.3% Corbett, 65.1% Toomey, 53.9% Ellis, 53.1% Santorum, 53.7% Swann

Summary: Platts picks up Lancaster. He'd be safe here, but this seat could conceivably elect a Democrat when open.

Rating: Safe R with Platts, very Likely R when open.


PA-13 (Schwartz 75%, Dent 7%, Fitzpatrick 6%, Fattah 6%, Gerlach 4%)

Incumbent: Allyson Schwartz (D-Jenkintown)

Stats: Goes from 59% Obama to 58% Obama

46.5% Bush, 48.5% Corbett, 46.2% Toomey, 45.4% Ellis, 40.3% Santorum, 30.1% Swann

Summary: Schwartz didn't need help, so I took away some Democrats from her. While this seat could conceivably vote for a Republican when open, it's probably going to trend to the left anyway.

Rating: Safe D with Schwartz, very Likely D when open.


PA-14 (Critz 36%, Murphy 32%, Doyle 28%, Shuster 4%)

Incumbents: Mike Doye (D-Forest Hills) and Mark Critz (D-Johnstown)

Stats: Goes from 70% Obama to 54% Obama

44.5% Bush, 54% Corbett, 48.2% Toomey, 37% Ellis, 35.4% Santorum, 40.8% Swann

Summary: This seat combines Mark Critz and Mike Doyle. I guess we would see Critz's true in this seat's primary, as he and Doyle would probably try to out-pander each other to labor. Needless to say, this seat is heavily ancestrally Democratic, and I don't see an R winning it any time soon, although it is certainly trending our way. I think Critz should be fine as an incumbent for a decade, though. He fits this seat well.


PA-15 (Dent 91%, Barletta 7%, Marino 2%)

Incumbent: Charlie Dent (R-Allentown)

Stats: Goes from 56% Obama to 57% Obama

48.6% Bush, 54.1% Corbett, 51.9% Toomey (Uh oh, Toomey represented this seat in Congress), 44.3% Ellis, 41.7% Santorum, 36.3% Swann

Summary: The Lehigh Valley stays intact, and Dent drops his blood red MontCo precincts and picks up some deep blue Carbon County precincts.

Rating: Toss Up or Tilt R in 2012 with Dent, and probably Leans D when open. I think Dent would lose in a wave election, but Lehigh Valley Democrats seem abhorrent at picking the right candidates to take down Dent.


PA-16 (Pitts 39%, Holen 36%, Marino 23%, Thompson 2%)

Incumbent: Open

Stats: Goes from 51% McCain to 61.5% McCain

70% Bush, 75% Corbett, 71.6% Toomey, 62.3% Ellis, 61.6% Santorum, 63.2% Swann

Summary: This is the eastern Pennsylvania Republican vote sink. I'm guessing Pitts would run here and probably would win the primary against Marino


Rating: Safe R

PA-17 (Holden 33%, Marino 31%, Barletta 20%, Gerlach 10%)

Incumbent: Tim Holden (D-St. Clair)

Stats: Goes from 51% McCain to 54% McCain

59.5% Bush, 65.8% Corbett, 61.9% Toomey, 51.5% Ellis, 50.7% Santorum, 47.6% Swann

Summary: This seat is the perfect example of a seat where the current member will likely be the last of their party to ever hold that seat. When we went after Holden in 2001, it... backfired. Seeing as there are probably temples dedicated to Holden with giant golden statues of Holden in god-like poses in Schuylkill County, I don't think Holden loses this seat in most years. (I say this because he generally wins ~75% of the vote in a Repubilcan leaning county where he was sheriff). It would almost certainly vote for a Republican when open, but Holden has proven his stripes. However, Marino could make this seat very, very interesting if he runs here...
Holden could lose here, as it is a lot of new territory, but if I wanted to draw a safe D seat with Scranton and Wilkes Barre in it, I had to draw this seat.


Rating: Leans/Likely D with Holden, Likely R when open.

PA-18 (Murpy 52%, Doyle 29%, Critz 20%)

Incumbent: Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair)

Stats: Goes from 55% McCain to 53% Obama

46.1% Bush, 54.4% Corbett, 49.4% Toomey, 40% Ellis, 37.9% Santorum, 43.6% Swann.

Summary: Murphy's seat becomes quite nice looking, but picks up the western half of Pittsburgh. Needless to say, he's probably doomed. However, if any Republican can win this seat, it's the union pandering, fiscally moderate Murphy.

Rating: Leans D with Murphy, probably Safe D (for now, as western PA is trending Republican quickly) when open.



On average, how many seats on here would Democrats hold over the course of the decade?

0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
25%1 votes
0%0 votes
75%3 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes

| 4 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Interesting map (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IllinoyedR, Adam B, lordpet8, skibum59

    Though you can be even more effective if you unpack Phillly more.

    One word of caution, you should probably tone down the Republican prospective a bit for DKE (ie "shows his red colors" referring to Republicans as "us"). It doesn't really bother me but it invites a front pager to come over and initiate a thread derail.

    25, originally OK-1, currently NY-8. Former swingnut.

    by okiedem on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 09:25:00 AM PST

  •  Btw... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cinnamon, IllinoyedR

    I hope you enjoy Haverford/St. Joseph's/Villanova if that's where you decide to go. The mainline is a beautiful place.

    25, originally OK-1, currently NY-8. Former swingnut.

    by okiedem on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 09:49:10 AM PST

    •  Haverford (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam B

      :). I love Haverford.

      If I don't get in early to Georgetown (I find out in a few days), I think I'll end up at Haverford.

      •  Haverford (0+ / 0-)

        If you do end up there, my roommate is a philosophy professor there.

        Also, we can ride the Norristown high speed line together and discuss politics when you head into Philly.

        •  Haverford (0+ / 0-)

          I'll have to take you up on that offer! It's always nice to have someone really passionate about politics to discuss with, especially when on the other side of the aisle so discussions don't just turn into blanket agreements.

          I love Haverford. If I don't get into Georgetown when I hear back on Monday, I think I'll end up there.

  •  Nice map (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Democrats could do some serious damage if they had the trifecta in Pennsylvania but the odds of that happening any time soon seem fairly low.  Basically, we need to win the governorship in 2018 to at least get a seat at the table next time around and get a fair state legislative map.  Then following that election we somehow need to snag both houses of the state legislature by 2030.  THEN we can finally enact the mother of all Dem gerrymanders but who even knows what Pennsylvania will look like by then?  There might be no way to get even 2 Dems out of West PA, but on the other hand all the Philly suburbs might be 60%+ Dem anyway by that point.  We might even be winning Lancaster County in 20 years.

    Anyway, as for your map, I think southwest PA could be re-done to actually preserve separate seats for Doyle and Critz by putting Critz and Murphy together in a 55% Obama seat with more counties favorable to Critz than Murphy.  The net partisan effect is the same, but it preserves all Dem incumbents.  I've been working on my own map that also bumps up Holden a few percent (so we at least have a chance at holding it when he retires) but it gets tricky also flipping all of the other Southeast PA seats while doing so.  Aside from how you weakened Holden, what you did with southeast PA is perfect.

    •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

      I'm actually fairly optimistic about PA trending towards Republicans in general, but I guess time will tell.

      In your SWPA remap, what % Obama would Doyle sit at?

      Also, what do you think of PA-03 here?

      •  Lets see (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        my map isn't really finished, but from what I've got in western PA, I had Doyle at 56% Obama, Critz/Murphy at 55%, and Altmire at 53%.  Cleaning it up a bit would redden the seats a bit but it doesn't look too bad.  Well, not much worse than the current map at least, and they would hardly be the weirdest looking districts in the country.

        Your PA-03 is probably the cleanest looking Dem-leaning seat we can get out of the area.  Some more "creative" line-drawing could improve it (I drew a silly PA-03 that mostly ran along the northern part of the state and actually threw a tendril down to grab State College in Centre County, got it up to like 56% Obama).  But yours is much more plausible.

      •  Respectfully disagree. (0+ / 0-)

        SWPA (Western PA in general) is trending Republican, while SEPA and the Leigh Valley are trending Democratic.

        19, male, WI-03 (home, voting), WI-02 (college), -7.88, -4.26, With all the crap Scooter is doing, I should move, but that would be one less vote to end the FitzWalkerstanian police state by recalling Scott Walker!!!!

        by WisJohn on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 10:31:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That trend (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Not sure how long that trend in SEPA will continue, but I guess we will just have to wait and see.

        •  It's interesting to note (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          that in this past election, Republicans basically destroyed us in East PA, whereas Democrats surprisingly held on in southwest PA (Altmire and Critz).

          Not saying the trend you point to is wrong, it's just interesting that 2010 saw Pennsylvania revert to historical voting patterns rather than accelerate the newer trends.

        •  SWPA might not be trending GOP (0+ / 0-)

          I still liken SWPA to a quote from Mayor Quimby on the Simpsons.  he asks, and I mean no disrespect (i"ll explain) as people are protesting outside his office:

          "Are these people getting dumber or just louder"

          I don't think SWPA attitudes are reddening to the extent that electionr esults show.  I really believe SWPA is shedding Dem voters through population lost faster than they are converting Dems to GOP.  It might be reddening in terms of %'s voting GOP, but in terms of votes I think the trend is actually not that spectacular.  

          If I ever get a free weekend I'm going to finish looking at PA's last 5 even-numbered year elections and figure the whole of PA out.  Its really hard since Onorato was such a terrible candidate in 2010, Obama was an anomaly in 2008, and Rendell inflated the Philly burbs in 2006.  So getting conclusions is really hard.

  •  what a bizarre map (0+ / 0-)

    also, I'm not sure I inhabit the same universe where Chaka Fattah is "practically a communist" but I got a lol out of that. You're a cool guy.

    Some of these districts make the state legislative district maps look actually sane. I realize this is merely an academic exercise though.

    (your PA-16, I see it being a R district, but I don't think Pitts would win it. Someone from the legislature might, possibly Folmer, if he wanted higher office.)

    [insert pithy sigline here]

    by terrypinder on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 10:07:30 AM PST

  •  awesome (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    awesome work.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site