The 10-term Democrat slipped through GOP hands a decade ago when he defeated then-Rep. George Gekas (R) in a district that was redrawn to elect a Republican. Ten years later, Holden gets his reward — a heavily Democratic district that includes his base in Schuylkill County, plus Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.
To be fair, this new district includes a lot of new territory for Holden. Immediately after the map was released, Republicans and Democrats whispered about potential primary challengers.
But Holden's new district is pretty disjointed. Only a Democratic opponent very well-known in the Lackawanna County media market could give him a tough run. Even then, Holden would be favored to hold this district.
• Bucks County Democrats
Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick is the state's only GOP Member representing a Democratic-leaning district under the new map. That means he's now No. 1 on the Democratic target list in the state.
Bucks County Democrats couldn't be happier to see Fitzpatrick's district mostly unchanged under the new map. It's a great opportunity for ambitious local officeholders to challenge him next year.
Watch for House Democrats to recruit harder here than before. It's the party's best chance to pick up a seat in the state.
• Sen. Pat Toomey
It's no secret Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D) has thought about running for Senate, and her most likely future opponent is the Republican.
GOP mapmakers initially pondered putting Schwartz and Rep. Chaka Fattah into the same district, but they abandoned that idea in favor of shoring up GOP incumbents in the Philadelphia area instead.
Now Schwartz is safer than ever under the proposed map. The four-term Democratic Congresswoman can continue to stockpile cash until the time is right to challenge Toomey.
• Democratic Comeback Candidates
The proposed map isn't good news for former Rep. Christopher Carney (D) or 2010 Democratic candidates Manan Trivedi and Doug Pike — all three of whom are thinking about running again.
Carney lost the most in this redraw. He lives in Rep. Tom Marino's (R) district, which Republicans made safer. He also toyed with challenging Barletta, but that district would be tough for him, too.
Similarly, Republicans drew tough districts for Trivedi and Pike to challenge Gerlach or Meehan in Southeastern Pennsylvania next year.
All three will face tougher campaigns than last year if they decide to run again.
The 16th district is tailor-made for Pitts — the way it stretches into Chester County to pick up his home. That's not good news for the ambitious Republican who runs when Pitts, 72, retires from Congress.
President Barack Obama would have won this redrawn district in 2008, which means it could be competitive in future cycles. Even though Lancaster County has consistently voted for Republicans, this district is changing — and could prove to be a challenge for whoever tries to succeed Pitts.
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