As the scramble to form new legislative district maps continues, candidates for elected office across Pennsylvania are starting their campaigns using 2001’s boundaries.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected a redistricting plan that was made to accommodate shifting populations identified through the U.S. Census.
Senior U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick said the election cycle is too far along to allow a revised plan to be developed and approved. He said “there is no reasonable alternative” when deciding the 2001 maps should be used.
Franklin County saw significant changes to its lawmakers’ district lines in the now-rejected 2011 maps. It would have gained a state senator and two state representatives, and lost one state representative in the north.
Several incumbent lawmakers are seeking re-election to return to the state capital in Harrisburg, Pa.
Candidates who already filed nominating paperwork prior to the April 24 primary include state Sen. Richard Alloway for the 33rd Senate District, state Rep. Mark Keller for the 86th House District, state Rep. Rob Kauffman for the 89th House District, state Rep. Todd Rock for the 90th House District and state Rep. Dan Moul for the 91st House District.
For political newcomer Susan Spicka, redistricting issues caused a notable change in her campaign.
Spicka planned to run for the 33rd Senate District seat, but the 2001 maps place her Shippensburg, Pa., home outside the district. After consulting with supporters, she announced she is a candidate for the 89th House District instead.
“We decided the issues are the same, and if the race is different, that is OK,” Spicka said.
Spicka, a 41-year-old Democrat, said she addresses redistricting with potential voters.
“It has been confusing for people, but the one positive is, for us, it showed that Harrisburg is broken,” she said.
Kauffman, a Republican, said his home remains fairly centered in the district in the 2001 and 2011 maps.
He said he continues to be passionate about serving his neighbors and community.
“The values of this district don’t change from map to map,” said Kauffman, 37.
Kauffman, who said he wants to continue to work for constituents, said he filed more than 1,000 signatures on nominating petitions, although he only needed 300 to appear on ballots. He said the reapportionment commission is meeting this week to make new maps.
“The court case is by no means a final decision,” Kauffman said.