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New Pennsylvania Map, New Pennsylvania House Ratings
Six races shift in Democrats’ direction, two in GOP’s favor

Under the new lines, Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s district shifted from one carried narrowly by President Donald Trump to one carried narrowly by Hillary Clinton. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If you’ve been wondering what political handicapping is like in a redistricting cycle — or it’s been long enough for you to forget — the Pennsylvania Supreme Court offered a good reminder.

With newly drawn districts, misplaced incumbents and new district numbers, confusion is inevitable. But the bottom line for Pennsylvania is that Democrats had a half-dozen takeover opportunities with the old map and they have a half-dozen takeover opportunities with the new map, although they have a distinctly better chance at gaining those seats.

Opinion: Save the RINOs, Save Yourselves
Mitt Romney would add a voice of moderation

Mitt Romney tours Gibson’s Green Acres Dairy in Ogden, Utah, on Feb. 16. Romney hopes to succeed retiring Utah Sen. Orrin G. Hatch. (Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)

 

Mitt Romney is running for Senate. He found new political life by bashing President Donald Trump — who on Monday proceeded to endorse him anyway. (Even a candidate video that sideswiped Trump at least twice wasn’t enough to deter the president.)

Democrats See Blue in Pennsylvania With New Map
GOP legislators are expected to challenge new boundaries

Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan A. Costello’s district is now more Democratic, under the new congressional map. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pennsylvania’s state Supreme Court released a new congressional map Monday, potentially bolstering Democratic opportunities in the Keystone State. 

Republicans are expected to launch a challenge to stop the new lines from taking effect. In the meantime, as candidates and incumbents digest the new boundaries, Democrats see better chances for victory in some of their top targets. 

House Appropriators Ready to Carve Up Budget Deal
Side deal among leaders would divide spending, and could divide members

House Appropriations member Steve Womack, who is also Budget chairman, said he and his fellow appropriators never like to have their work spelled out for them. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A side agreement among congressional leaders to allocate some of the new nondefense funding to opioid abuse prevention, infrastructure and several other priorities is complicating the plan to write a fiscal 2018 omnibus.

Even if that weren’t the case, appropriators say they don’t like being micromanaged.

Supreme Court Denies Request to Halt Pennsylvania Redistricting
Current map was thrown out on partisan gerrymandering grounds

Supreme Court justices have denied a Republican request to halt a redrawing of congressional districts in Pennsylvania. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request from Pennsylvania state lawmakers to halt a redrawing of congressional districts for the 2018 primary and general elections. The state’s Supreme Court had thrown out the current map last month, ruling that it was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.

The decision means Pennsylvania will have a new congressional map for the upcoming midterm elections. The primaries are scheduled for May 15.

Pennsylvania’s 7th: How Do You Rate a Race for a Seat That Doesn’t Exist?
Keystone State district lines likely to change with new map

Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan announced his retirement under a cloud of sexual misconduct allegation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The deep, dark secret of political handicapping is that there isn’t a singular equation that can project the winner of each congressional race. It is helpful to know who is running and where they are running. But thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court throwing out the Republican-drawn congressional map and GOP incumbent Patrick Meehan’s retirement, we barely know anything about this year’s race in the 7th District.

On Thursday evening, Meehan finally announced his decision not to seek a fifth term after allegations of sexual misconduct with a former staffer and a futile attempt to explain away his conduct.

At the Races: Washington Doesn’t Have to Suck
Our weekly newsletter on the latest in House and Senate races

“I won’t stop,” West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III said this week in announcing — just four days before the filing deadline — his decision to seek re-election to the Senate. With moves like this (from his 2010 race), it can’t suck that bad can, it? (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ file photo)

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. Subscribe here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget BowmanThis week … a three-day shutdown ended, Pennsylvania districts were thrown out the window, and Manchin spared Democrats a heart attack.

Holler Back: Manchin’s decision to seek re-election is good news for Senate Democrats, of course. But it’s also probably a relief to Democratic candidates looking to flip two of the state’s House districts. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting WV-02 (Trump +36) and WV-03 (Trump +49). Yes, you read those numbers right.

Pa. Supreme Court Throws Out Congressional Map
Justices want a new map before the 2018 elections

GOP Rep. Ryan Costello’s district was named in the Pennsylvania redistricting lawsuit.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Monday that the state’s congressional map violated the state constitution and a new map must be in place for the 2018 elections.

The plaintiffs, including the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, argued the current map was improperly drawn to benefit Republicans. They alleged Democrats were largely packed into five congressional districts and the remaining Democrats were spread out among the rest. Republicans currently hold 12 of the state’s 18 House seats, with one GOP seat vacant.

Analysis: On This Episode of The Trump Show ...
Undermines party, contradicts staff before campaign-style rally

President Donald Trump introduces Ken Wilson, an employee of H&K Equipment, to supporters at a rally at the rental and sales company in Coraopolis, Pa., on Thursday. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is no longer on “The Apprentice,” but on days like Thursday, the president of the United States produces, writes and stars in a White House-based reality show, “The Trump Show,” complete with a boss who undermines his senior staff and congressional allies, prompting them to explain away the antics or ignore them.

The commander in chief started the day by torpedoing with a tweet a key GOP talking point and saying, on his way into the Pentagon for a briefing, that a government shutdown “could very well be.”

The Next Special Election in the Heart of Trump Country
President will travel to Pennsylvania’s 18th District on Thursday

Democrats see Conor Lamb’s moderate profile and background as a Marine and federal prosecutor as an advantage in Pennsylvania’s 18th District. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

It’s no accident that President Donald Trump will travel Thursday to an equipment manufacturing plant outside of Pittsburgh. And it’s no accident that Pennsylvania Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone will be there too. 

The visit is an official one, but with a political backdrop. H&K Equipment is located in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, where Saccone will face Democrat Conor Lamb on March 13, the first special election of the year.