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Between the Lines: New Pa. Map Means Winners and Losers

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Lou Barletta (above) had some help on the inside of the mapmaking process. One of his top political aides, Luke Bernstein, serves as one of the governor's deputy chiefs of staff.

Pennsylvania's biggest winners this week are the five GOP freshmen — all of whom saw their districts improve under the proposed new Congressional map.

House Democrats lost out after Republican mapmakers moved two of their Members — Jason Altmire and Mark Critz — into the same district and made several Eastern Pennsylvania districts less competitive.

But a deeper look at the map proposed on Tuesday, which is likely to become law, yielded a few more winners and losers.

Pennsylvania Republicans sought to draw a map that protected their 12 Members and put the redrawn 12th district in play.

The Pennsylvania Senate will consider the map this week before sending it to the state House for a vote. Gov. Tom Corbett (R) is expected to sign it into law.


• Reps. Lou Barletta and Pat Meehan

The partisan makeup of Barletta's Northeastern Pennsylvania district changed more than that of any other Member in Pennsylvania, moving from a seat that leans Democratic to one that is a likely a Republican hold.

Barletta, also a GOP freshman, had some help on the inside of the mapmaking process. One of his top political aides, Luke Bernstein, serves as one of the governor's deputy chiefs of staff.

Similarly, Republicans went to incredible lengths to improve Meehan's district — changing it from a Democratic-leaning seat to a marginally GOP-leaning one. But the freshman's big coup is between the lines: The Pennsylvania GOP showed they want to protect Meehan at any cost — a sign they might be grooming him for higher office in future cycles.

• Rep. Bill Shuster

The fifth-term Republican proved his mettle this cycle by serving as the point-person between lawmakers in Harrisburg and Members in Washington, D.C. Fellow Republicans lauded him for shoring up the freshman Members' districts while keeping the most senior Members happy with their new territory.

But Shuster also wins the generosity award for giving up more GOP territory than any other Republican in the delegation to help his colleagues. Sure, it's all relative for Shuster, who will go from a district that voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) with 64 percent to one that went for him with 58 percent.

Nonetheless, as a result of his redistricting efforts, he's emerged as the top Republican leader in the delegation.

• House Republicans' Pocketbook

During the past decade, House Republicans poured many millions of dollars into competitive Pennsylvania races. The National Republican Congressional Committee should be able to save a lot of cash in coming years under this redraw.

The swing seats around Philadelphia came at an especially high cost because of the city's pricey media market.

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