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For any who may be reading this series for the first time: this is a thought experiment where I try to see what would happen if the size of the House of Representatives were doubled to 870 members from 435. This series is both highly theoretical and very unlikely to ever occur.

Pennsylvania is a state that has voted in Democratic 9 out of the last 13 presidential elections. However, it also has a tradition since the 50s where if gives each party two terms in the Governorship and then switches, like clockwork. And as such, the last two times there was a census, Republicans controlled the redistricting process. The last time, it was a dummymander that backfired on the Republicans. Let's hope they're wrong again. Sigh.

Anyway, here's my take.

Link to the adopted plan.

Previous Doubling Diaries: TX, WA, MT, NY, AZ, CO, KS, AL, GA, TN, IL, MD, WV, DC, New England, NE, MO, NC, MI, FL, SC, WI, LA, MS, UT, NV, OK, AK, WY, IN, NJ, VA, OH, HI, ND, SD, NM, VT, DE and ID


The Keystone State gets 36 districts, exactly double the 18 it will have after the 2010 Census.

The Dem/Rep average is of "All 2004-2008 statewide races", so presumably it includes:

  • President 2004
  • President 2008
  • Senate 2004
  • Senate 2006
  • Governor 2006
  • Attorney General 2004
  • Attorney General 2008
  • Auditor 2004
  • Auditor 2008
  • Treasurer 2004
  • Treasurer 2008

A mixed bag of electoral results, but I believe they provide a decent baseline for federal elections in Pennsylvania.


VAP: 36.4 White, 50.2 Black, 7 Asian
82.1 Obama, 81.6 Dem

Open; majority black. Southern Philadelphia and into the African-American-heavy cities of Chester and Eddystone in DelCo. Safe D, black pickup

VAP: 35.4 W, 50 B, 8.3 A
91.7 Obama, 89.9 Dem

Bob Brady (D-Overbrook, Philadelphia) lives here; majority black. Philadelphia with a tiny foray into Upper Darby in DelCo. Brady, the redistricting backstabber, already has a plurality black seat, and he's the boss of the Philly Democratic Party, so I have a hard time believing he's vulnerable to a primary challenge, but maybe he wants to run for Philly mayor again someday. Safe D, black pickup if open

VAP: 32.4 W, 50.2 B, 11.2 Hispanic
90.2 Obama, 89.1 Dem

Chaka Fattah (D-East Falls, Philadelphia), lives here; majority black. Philadelphia. Not much else to say about the less-visible Philly congressman. Safe D, black hold

VAP: 34.2 W, 30.3 B, 25.7 H, 7.8 A
80.2 Obama, 79.4 Dem

Open; racial clusterfuck, plurality white. Philadelphia and part of Cheltenham in MontCo. The demographics of a Democratic primary would probably be heavily black and Hispanic, so one of them would likely end up being the Congressman for this district. The edge would be for African-Americans. Safe D, minority pickup

VAP: 68.5 W, 18.8 B, 5.1 H, 6.1 A
64.6 Obama, 66.1 Dem

Allyson Schwartz (D-Jenkintown) lives here. Philadelphia and MontCo, plus a small slice of Bucks. Schwartz, who was almost primary challenged from the left this year, is given an even safer district than her current one. Schwartz is a budget hawk and a member of the New Democrat Coalition, not the Progressive Caucus, so I have a feeling that she may prefer the slightly redder pastures of the 7th, where she already represents the majority of the territory, since it's either that or change her stripes to avoid getting primaried every cycle. Safe D no matter what happens.

VAP: 79.8 W, 8.3 B, 6 A
62.7 Obama, 59.7 Dem

Open. MontCo and part of Philadelpia, based in Norristown. This takes in parts of the gerrymandered-within-an-inch-of-its-life Montgomery County, with parts of the 6th (Gerlach) 7th (Meehan) and 13th (Schwartz). No Republican in Pennsylvania represents a district above 58% Obama, even after 2010, so I feel safe rating this Likely D

VAP: 82.4 W, 6.8 B, 6.7 A
57.1 Obama, 52 Dem

Open. MontCo. As I posited above, Allyson Schwartz may want to run here instead of the bluer 5th, since it could possibly be treacherous for her NDC lifestyle in a Democratic primary. Slightly less blue than her current district, that might even work out. The ancestrally Republican nature of MontCo would make it a tough win for Team Blue without her.
Safe D with Schwartz
Swing otherwise

VAP: 87.7 W
55.7 Obama, 54.9 Dem

Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Levittown) lives here. Lower Bucks County. This gets a couple points bluer than his current district, so he could be in slightly more danger than he is now. Swing

VAP: 74.1 W, 17.5 H
60.2 Obama, 56.9 Dem

Charlie Dent (R-Allentown) lives here. Bucks County and up to Allentown and Bethlehem. Dent, who is a survivor in his current district at 56% Obama, just got a 4-point kick in the head. If Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan wanted to try again, he'd have the upper hand. Lean D

VAP: 83.2 W, 5.7 B, 7.4 H
55.6 Obama, 53.4 Dem

Open. Bucks County and crawls up the eastern border, taking in Evergreen Park in Lehigh County, Easton in Northampton and Stroudsburg in Monroe. This goes from the swingy-but-ancestrally-Republican areas in SEPA up to the swingy-but-ancestrally-Democratic areas up in NEPA. So I'm not positive how to call this, I'll just say Swing

VAP: 87.5 W
55.3 Obama, 52 Dem

Open. Delaware and Chester Counties. Jim Gerlach, whose home was drawn into the hopelessly Republican 14th, would probably rather run here and continue to frustrate Democratic strategists.
Likely R with Gerlach
Lean R if open

VAP: 82.4 W, 7.7 B, 5.8 H
55.6 Obama, 51.8 Dem

Joe Pitts (R-Kennett Square) lives here. A Delaware/Chester Democratic gerrymander. Pitts, who had a tantrum over redistricting after Obama took a surprising 48% in his current district, would have a conniption over this one. So he'd probably parachute to the 14th. Chester and Delaware Counties are both moving our way, so this will be a prime pickup opportunity in the future. Swing for now.


VAP: 68.9 W, 6.4 B, 21.2 H
60.1 Obama, 54.5 Dem

Open. Reading and Lancaster. Safe D

VAP: 92.4 W
43.7 Obama, 39.3 Dem

Jim Gerlach (R-West Pikeland) lives here. Chester and Lancaster Counties, will small forays into Berks and Delaware Counties. Gerlach is a survivor in Dem-leaning districts, and Pitts is freaked out by Dem-leaning districts, so I think they'd switch, or Gerlach runs in the 12th. Safe R

VAP: 91.4 W
40.6 Obama, 34.8 Dem

Open. Lebanon and Lancaster Counties, based in Lebanon. Safe R

VAP: 91.6 W
62 Obama, 61.7 Dem

Open. Scranton and Wilkes Barre. Matt Cartwright, who just unseated Tim Holden in the primary in the real map, would have run here instead, and would have won the general in a walk, but I doubt he would have had much traction when every area Democrat would be tripping over themselves to run here. Safe D

VAP: 87.9 W, 6.4 H
48 Obama, 46.4 Dem

Lou Barletta (R-Hazelton) lives here. Literally the area surrounding Scranton and Wilkes Barre. Barletta is not the strongest incumbent, but assuming he can survive a primary, he'd be fine in a general election. Safe R

VAP: 93.2 W
48.3 Obama, 44.8 Dem

Open. SEPA between Allentown and Reading. Safe R

VAP: 79.4 W, 12.2 B
51.7 Obama, 47.9 Dem

Tim Holden (D-St. Clair) lives here. Harrisburg and the Schuylkill Valley. Holden currently represents the vast majority of this district, and it cuts out some of the worst Republican areas. Safe D with Holden

VAP: 92.8 W
47.3 Obama, 47.4 Dem

Open. Miscellany. Safe R

VAP: 95.9 W
39.7 Obama, 37.7 Dem

Tom Marino (R-Lycoming) live here. NEPA going into central. Freshman Marino gets absurdly safe. Safe R

VAP: 94.5 W
39 Obama, 38.1 Dem

Glenn Thompson (R-Howard Township) lives here. Miscellaneous central PA. Thompson, one of the poster children for "anonymous backbencher", may want to run in the neighboring 24th just because he already represents most of it and is less vulnerable in the primary. Safe R regardless.

VAP: 87.3 W, 5.4 B
44.1 Obama, 40 Dem

Open; Todd Russell Platts (R-York) is retiring. York County. Not much else to say, but the next Rep will be much less of a team player than Platts was. Safe R

VAP: 92.4 W
39.9 Obama, 36.3 Dem

Open. Suburban Harrisburg. Safe R

VAP: 93.2 W
35.4 Obama, 34.6 Dem

Open. Southern Central. This is mostly Bill Shuster's territory, but his home was drawn into the 28th. He could run here, he could run in his home district. It wouldn't matter much. Safe R


VAP: 90.2 W
53.7 Obama, 55.4 Dem

Mark Critz (D-Johnstown) lives here. West Central PA, based in State College and the evil liberal homosexual cabal that is Johnstown.  Due to the addition of two college towns plus the labor-friendly Johnstown plus an incumbent Congressman, this is Safe D

VAP: 96.9 W
41 Obama, 42 Dem

Open. Northwest Central PA. As I mentioned above, Glenn Thompson may want to run here, where much of his current territory is, rather than his home district, to better avoid a primary. Safe R

VAP: 97.2 W
34.9 Obama, 39.1 Dem

Bill Shuster (R-Hollidaysburg) lives here. Southwest Central, heading into the Pittsburgh area. As mentioned above, Shuster can run here or the 27th, doesn't matter a whole lot. Safe R

VAP: 90.6 W, 5.2 B
56.4 Obama, 52.3 Dem

Open. Erie and Crawford Counties, based in Erie. If Kathy Dahlkemper wanted to run again, she'd probably have an edge here. Other than that, there are plenty of Erie-based Democrats who'd like this district. Likely D

VAP: 92.6 W, 5.2 B
49.3 Obama (Obama win by 95), 53.4 Dem

Open. New Castle and Beaver County. Despite his home of McCandless being drawn into the new 36th, I think Jason Altmire would run here, since he counts Beaver County as his base and already represents most of this district. Since his current district is only 44% Obama, even as a backstabbing Blue Dog I think Altmire would appreciate being a little safer. Safe D with Altmire

VAP: 90.8 W, 6.9 B
53.9 Obama, 60.9 Dem

Open. Southwestern PA. The other half of Mark Critz' current PA-12, this contains union-heavy SWPA and heads into the Pittsburgh area. There are plenty of Dem state legislators that would be itching to run here, like State Senators Tim Solobay or Rich Kasunic. Likely D

VAP: 95.6 W
38.6 Obama, 41.3 Dem

Mike Kelly (R-Butler) and Jason Altmire (D-McCandless) both live here. Butler, Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties. As I said above, Altmire most likely runs in the 30th rather than here. Kelly would like this district though. Safe R


VAP: 76.2 W, 16.2 B
67.8 Obama, 70.2 Dem

Open. Pittsburgh. Mike Doyle, the Pittsburgh Rep., was just barely drawn out of this district, but he would run here. He takes a tiny hit in Obama performance, but nothing to be worried about. Safe D

VAP: 89.4 W, 6.7 B
53.5 Obama, 56.8 Dem

Open. Beaver and Washington Counties, with a very ugly arm around Pittsburgh that I'm oh so proud of. Again, just looking at State Senators, Wayne Fontana of Pittsburgh would probably like a crack at this seat. Likely D

VAP: 86.4 W, 10.9 B
49.9 Obama, 54.3 Dem

Open. Westmoreland County and another arm into Pittsburgh. Obama won this district by a little over 1500 votes, and in Western PA that ain't nothing, so I feel confident calling this Lean D

VAP: 90.9 W, 5 B
46.6 Obama, 49.7 Dem

Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair) lives here. Outer Allegheny County with miscellany Beaver and Westmoreland Counties. Murphy's current district is 44% O, so he doesn't make out all that bad. Likely R
So, with two Republican gerrymanders in a row, we have a 7-12 delegation, whittled down to 6-12 after this census. In my 36-district map however, drawn by me (have we met?), we get a 18-15-3 map, assuming Schwartz runs in the 7th instead of the 5th, which for this diary series we will. This includes at least one new black Congressman to join Mr. Fattah, and with the possibility for one more, and a second if Bob Brady retires.

The House as a whole now stands at 378-276-58.

As always, please let me know what you think. And if you could throw some recommends my way I'd appreciate that too. ;)

Next up: California

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    24, Practical Progressive Democrat (-4.75, -4.51), DKE Gay Caucus Majority Leader, IN-02; Swingnut. Gregg for Governor! Donnelly for Senate! Mullen for Congress!

    by HoosierD42 on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 03:33:12 AM PDT

  •  As usual, an excellent map (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh, atdnext, HoosierD42

    Pennsylvania is, in my opinion, one of the most fun states to gerrymander. I really should upload my PA gerrymander one day, but I'm a massive procrastinator.

    British guy with a big interest in US politics; -3.50, -3.18. Overheard at CPAC: A liberal, a moderate and a conservative walk into a bar. The bartender says "Hey Mitt".

    by General Goose on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 03:47:46 AM PDT

  •  I'm feeling generous this Sunday... (6+ / 0-)

    But your diary deserves a rec anyway.  I had completely ignored/not seen this series previously (sorry).  You have clearly put a great deal of work into it and thank you.  Today was my lucky day- I live in PA so I found it very interesting.

    Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

    by Smoh on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 04:42:35 AM PDT

  •  Ah, another mischievous gerrymander... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But this time, with double the trouble and double the fun! This was a fun read. And now I'm off to see what you did to my state.

  •  Good job! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Englishlefty, dufffbeer, HoosierD42

    I like this map. But, I have a few quibbles.

    First, I think you are being a tad too generous with expected Democratic strength in SWPA. The area is moving away from Dems.

    Also, couldn't you draw one Scranton seat, and one Wilkes-Barre seat, and doth be Lean/Likely Dem?

    Otherwise, good map!

    Farm boy who hit the city to go to college, WI-03 (home, voting), WI-02 (college), -7.88, -4.26, 6/5/2012- the day the great error of Wisconsin history will be corrected!

    by WisJohn on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 08:32:15 AM PDT

    •  Your point on Scranton/WB (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Allen, WisJohn

      That was actually what I did in my original map. However, they were both a little too weak for my liking. Although I suppose a marginally better seat would be enough to unseat Barletta in a neutral year.

      As for SWPA, I agree that the area is moving away from us, but there are still a lot of locally elected Dems and labor is still pretty strong there. Given that plus the strong Dem/Rep numbers, I felt confident in my ratings, if maybe a touch too generous. But I'm an optimist.

      24, Practical Progressive Democrat (-4.75, -4.51), DKE Gay Caucus Majority Leader, IN-02; Swingnut. Gregg for Governor! Donnelly for Senate! Mullen for Congress!

      by HoosierD42 on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 09:49:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think Altmire might not run in your 30th. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen, Englishlefty, HoosierD42

    It contains some of his old territory but is very politically dissimilar to his current district--much more rural, containing little suburban Allegheny. I think he might actually run in your 35th instead. Which would be great because he could beat Tim Murphy and another Democrat would win the 30th.

    But he might be too scared to run against Murphy. If it was an open seat, I think he'd definitely run there.

    •  yeah, the 35th might be ideal for him. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Englishlefty, HoosierD42

      It's closer to his home turf, has a closer PVI to his current district, and is still a bit more Democratic, so he gets a bit of a boost, but not too much.

      Lewis & Clark Law class of 2015

      by James Allen on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 11:12:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You may be right (0+ / 0-)

      But my thinking was Altmire, despite his ├╝ber Blue Doggery, would still prefer as high a Dem ceiling as possible while still being safe from the left, as well as being identified with Beaver County.

      24, Practical Progressive Democrat (-4.75, -4.51), DKE Gay Caucus Majority Leader, IN-02; Swingnut. Gregg for Governor! Donnelly for Senate! Mullen for Congress!

      by HoosierD42 on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 09:53:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  nice work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    look forward for your Cali map

    "If you are lucky enough to have love in your life, you have to cherish it, because it could be gone tomorrow." -Connor Ross

    by lordpet8 on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 04:54:46 PM PDT

    •  Oh god (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Allen

      Still working on that one. I've lost my map 3 three times because of  loading issues with DRA. But it's definitely next.

      24, Practical Progressive Democrat (-4.75, -4.51), DKE Gay Caucus Majority Leader, IN-02; Swingnut. Gregg for Governor! Donnelly for Senate! Mullen for Congress!

      by HoosierD42 on Sun Apr 29, 2012 at 09:50:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  why not split Pittsburgh? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That way you can spread the Democratic voting strength of Allegheny County into more districts.

    •  I wanted some semblance of compactness (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In places. Philadelphia I kept pretty compact as well.

      24, Practical Progressive Democrat (-4.75, -4.51), DKE Gay Caucus Majority Leader, IN-02; Swingnut. Gregg for Governor! Donnelly for Senate! Mullen for Congress!

      by HoosierD42 on Tue May 01, 2012 at 12:21:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pennsylvania once had 36 Congressional Districts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WisJohn, HoosierD42

    It lasted 1 decade. From the 1920 census until the 1930 census.

  •  nice work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Good job.
    This was one where I was definitely interested in seeing what a difference gerrymandering would make.  Since Republicans hold the trifecta in PA, here's my quick and dirty map of what they would draw with a doubled house (nowhere near the detail you go into):


    PA-01: Delaware County and west Philly.  Black majority.  84-16.  Safe D.
    PA-02: Philly.  Probably Brady's district.  Majority white.  76-23.  Safe D.
    PA-03: Philly.  Black majority.  87-12.  Safe D.
    PA-04: Philly/Montco.  Black majority.  88-12.  Safe D.
    PA-18: Delware County.  52-47.  Tossup, maybe tilt R.
    PA-13: Philly/Montco.  45% white.  83-17.  Safe D.
    PA-16: Lower Bucks/Philly.  60-39.  Likely D.
    PA-15: Upper Bucks.  50/50.  Likely R.
    PA-12: Montco.  58/41.  Likely D.
    PA-25: Montco.  52/48.  Lean R.
    PA-14: Delaware County.  53-47.  Tossup.
    PA-10: York.  44-55.  Safe R.
    PA-11: Delaware/Lancaster/Lebanon.  46-53.  Safe R.
    PA-09: Lancaster.  46-53.  Safe R.
    PA-29: Easton/Bethlehem/Allentown/Reading.  70/28.  Safe D.
    PA-17: Northampton/Lehigh/Berks.  50-49.  Lean R.
    PA-22: Northampton/Lehigh/Berks.  50-49.  Lean R.
    PA-34: Based in Schuylkill/Carbon.  47-52.  Lean D with Holden.  Likely R otherwise.


    PA-20: Rural NEPA.  44-55.  Safe R.
    PA-21: Based in Luzerne and Columbia.  49-50.  Likely R.
    PA-33: Scranton/W-B/East Stroudsburg.  65-35.  Safe D.

    Western/Central PA

    PA-05: Erie.  60-40.  Safe D.
    PA-06: Butler/Lawrence/Allegheny.  39-60.  Safe R.
    PA-07: Beaver/Allegheny.  45-55.  Safe R.
    PA-08: Rural northern PA.  42-57.  Safe R.
    PA-30: Rural western PA.  41-59.  Safe R.
    PA-31: Westmoreland/Allegheny.  42-57.  Safe R.
    PA-32: Greene/Washington/Allegheny.  46/53.  Lean R.
    PA-28: Pittsburgh into Beaver.  62-37.  Safe D.
    PA-27: Pittsburgh.  75-25.  Safe D.
    PA-26: Johnstown/Altoona.  44-55.  Safe R.
    PA-24: Rural southern PA.  43-56.  Safe R.
    PA-23: Williamsport based.  41-58.  Safe R.
    PA-35: Rural Dauphin and surrounding areas.  45-54.  Safe R.
    PA-36: Harrisburg/York/Cumberland.  45-54.  Safe R.
    PA-19: Rural Southern PA.  42-57.  Safe R.

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