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GOP Wary of Repeating Redraw Overreach in Pa.

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Rep. Jason Altmire said he’s not preparing to run against fellow Democratic Rep. Mark Critz, even though they are likely to end up in the same district.

"It's a work in progress," Shuster said. "There's no map out there. There's many maps out there. We're just trying to figure out how to configure everything."

The small town of Johnstown is the biggest point of contention in the southwestern Pennsylvania map. Critz currently represents the town of fewer than 22,000 people, which is chock full of Democrats and provides a vital fundraising base for the Congressman, just as it did his predecessor, the late Rep. John Murtha (D).

Shuster made it clear that he does not want Johnstown in his district.

"Johnstown's got a lot a great people, but I'm not really crazy about taking Johnstown because it's so heavily Democratic," he said. "For years they voted heavily for a Democrat, Jack Murtha."

Most recently, Critz's associates have floated the idea of him challenging Shuster in 2012. Critz even approached Shuster on the House floor to ask him whether he saw the local reports, according to a Republican source.

However, that idea has widely been viewed as a power play by Critz to ensure he gets a favorable district that most likely includes Johnstown.

"He said that because he thinks [Republicans are] going to rejigger the map to make sure he's OK," the Republican source said.

Critz and Altmire appear to have entered into a mutual nonaggression pact until the new map is unveiled.

"Mark and I are both well-aware of the rumors and the possibility that we will end up in the same district. We are friends and we are supportive of each other," Altmire said in a Friday phone interview. "We are not preparing to run against each other. We are not doing stuff in each other's districts."

Rep. Tim Murphy (R), who represents the area surrounding the southern Pittsburgh suburbs, will also have to pick up population. As the most moderate Republican in western half of the state, Murphy is lobbying to make sure he does not pick up too many Republicans next year for fear of a primary challenge, according to multiple Pennsylvania sources. But Murphy also does not want to pick up any Democrats and create a competitive district for himself.

Yet as much as the Pennsylvania Members plot and lobby for their future districts, even the most vulnerable GOP Members realize it's not up to them. The Republican governor and state legislators are in control of their fate and almost anything can happen before they take up the maps in January.

"It's ultimately a decision that's made by the Legislature in Harrisburg," Meehan said. "I think all of the plotting and planning that's done here is secondary to whatever they will finally determine. There could be a state Senator who has his own unique interests, and that will change everything."

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