For those who haven't read my hypothetical redistricting diaries before, my definition of fair is the following:
1) Don't combine rural and non-rural areas unless required
2) Don't combined different metro areas unless required
3) Respect city and county lines where it doesn't conflict with numbers 1 or 2
4) Ignore the VRA (although in this case it's pretty easy to comply with it by drawing Philadelphia in an uglier fashion than I did)
So here's what I came up with:
Safe Democratic Districts:
This district is 45% Black and 37% White and takes up a little less than half of the city of Philadelphia. I'd love to see Fattah take on and beat Brady here in a plurality-Black district, but I doubt it'd happen, and the machine would go all out for Brady anyway.
This district is 40% Black and 38% White, very similar to the 1st district. Not much more to say.
At D+8, this is safe for any Democrat, and it takes in most of Montgomery County's population along with Radnor Township in Delaware County.
D+6.5 as the Pittsburgh area is un-votesinked from the GOP map. The areas in Washington County appear suburban on DRA and thus I didn't want to put them into Murphy's district.
Safe Republican Districts:
This R+10 district is one county away from Thompson's residence, but I think he'd run here and win pretty easily. A generation ago, Democrats might've been competitive here: Cambria, Armstrong, and Indiana were pretty blue counties, and I think Clearfield was swingy as well.
Another rural R+10 containing Williamsport and a bunch of places with two, three, or four digit populations. Marino should cruise every year here.
Everyone's favorite Pennsylvania legacy politician gets a ridiculously Republican R+17 district that contains Altoona, Gettysburg, and not much else.
The big beneficiary of this map is Pitts, who moves westward and now has an R+10 which he should hold until retirement (which might not be too far off). His home is still barely in the district.
So the split is 4-4 for safe districts.
Likely Republican district:
At R+5 in an ancestrally Republican area, this would be a very uphill climb, but since Platts retired, this would be the best chance for a while to take it. With that said, I don't know of any bench we have in the area. I do really like this district; combining Harrisburg and York allows for more 100% rural districts to represent rural interests, and the cities of Harrisburg and York are much more similar with each other than they are with the countryside. With that said, much of this district is very very rural and very very conservative.
So, in terms of basically safe seats, it's 5R-4D, mainly because the city of Philadelphia is such an efficient vote sink.
I might be overstating how Democratic this district is willing to vote for Congress nowadays, but having taken out the most suburban parts of this district, we're left with an area full of dying manufacturing towns and conservaDem "bitter clingers." Obama didn't do very well here (it's R+7) but Sestak would've won four of the five counties here in a neutral year (all but Westmoreland). Murphy, as a pro-union Republican, won't lose here even in a wave, but in an open seat, we have a shot.
The urban parts of Delaware County spell Meehan's defeat after one term in this D+5, which is good because he has statewide potential. Bryan Lentz can run again and win here or Sestak can come back, doesn't really matter to me.
This seat, at D+4.5, is perfect for Corey O'Brien. I know Cartwright won the primary in this area, but I think someone higher tier would've run if Holden weren't in the race. Either way, Republicans don't really have a shot here.
The special case district:
I didn't count, but I believe Holden represents more of this district. Two problems:
1) It's R+10, which is slightly more conservative than Holden's previous districts
2) He's up against an incumbent for only the second time, and this one knows how to campaign.
I'm calling it Tilt R, but we really wouldn't know.
Now for a pretty big category, Tossups when Open:
Kelly will have a tough time even when it's not Open, as it's R+1.5 and more Democratic down the ballot. With a top Dem candidate, I'd call this a Tossup.
A mix of Republican suburbs and Central/East Allegheny County, which has some liberals and some conservaDems, this R+3 district would be Lean Dem as long as Altmire runs. However, in the event of a retirement, it's a Tossup.
Basically an inverse of the 4th. At D+2, its PVI leans slightly to the other party. Due to ancestral loyalties, it'll only be a Tossup when Open, but it Leans to the incumbent while he stays in office.
I split Bucks. Deal with it. D+1, Tossup every cycle.