Map fight causes confusion in congressional races

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Tuesday was the first day for Pennsylvania’s congressional candidates to circulate petitions for their nomination.

The new congressional map, which Republicans are fighting in the U.S. Supreme Court, is creating a lot of uncertainty heading into the May primary.

Veteran political consultant Christopher Nicholas says many congressional candidates have been preparing to run for months, and the new map raises a lot of questions.

“The court decided to renumber all of the districts,” said Nicholas. “So here, for example, a lot of the people that would have had Scott Perry as their congressman, he was the 4th district but now he’s the 10th.”

Scott Perry has represented the 4th district for three terms. The Republican is now in the new 10th district, which is expected to be more competitive.

“Whether you like Congressman Perry or not, I don’t think he’s made any mistakes,” said Nicholas. “So, on paper, it could be competitive, but you’d still have to beat an incumbent.”

State Rep. Steve Bloom will go for the Republican nomination in his new district, to replace U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, but Bloom had planned to go after Rep. Lou Barletta’s seat. Barletta is leaving to run for U.S. Senate.

Five members of Pennsylvania congressional delegation won’t be seeking another term this year. A sixth resigned, and that’s creating a number of open seats.

“I would predict that if this map holds, the Democrats pick up at least two seats and possibly four,” said Nicholas.

Republican leaders have filed for an emergency stay of the new congressional map in the U.S. Supreme Court, but that could fuel even more confusion for candidates running for office.

“Suppose we’re a week into gathering petitions in your new district, which is district seven. And then all of a sudden, the court throws it out and you’re back in your old district, which was the 15th,” said Nicholas. “Do the signatures that you have that overlap, are they good? Do you have to start over? Do you get more time?”

Tuesday was the first day for candidates to gather signatures to qualify for the primary election ballots. The deadline for candidates to file them is March 20.

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