the north face jeppeson Congressional candidates face possibility of district boundaries changing
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As they wait for a court ordered rewrite of congressional district boundaries, candidates for Congress face the possibility they have already campaigned in places they will never represent.
That may happen because those places might join another congressional district when the rewrite wraps up.
“It’s tough because there are literally five kazillion scenarios,” said Judy Herschel, 40, of Susquehanna County, 10th Congressional District Democratic candidate. Rep. Tom Marino, R 10, Lycoming Twp., will face Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko for the Republican nomination. The winner will likely face Herschel.
The doubt about district boundaries exists because the state Supreme Court ruled Jan. 22 the existing congressional district map unconstitutional because it favors Republicans. The court ordered the General Assembly to write a new congressional district map by Friday and Gov. Tom Wolf to sign one by Feb. 15. Supreme Court to stay the ruling, but Justice Samuel Alito rejected the request Monday. State legislative leaders say they’re working on a new map.
In the meantime, the congressional candidates said they can only keep campaigning and hope redistricting doesn’t change the districts too much.
Former state revenue secretary Dan Meuser, 53, of Kingston Twp., a Republican 11th Congressional District candidate, said he hopes the district changes little because its voter registration is almost balanced between Republicans and Democrats. For now, he’s concentrating on activities that redistricting won’t affect, such as fundraising and honing his message.
“The idea of going into wait mode doesn’t make any sense,
” Meuser said. Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, the field to replace him is wide open.
In addition to Meuser, Republicans running in the 11th include state Rep. Stephen Bloom, R 199, Cumberland; Berwick Councilman Andrew Schecktor; custom home building and remodeling company chief operating officer Andrew Lewis of Dauphin County; former Deputy State Attorney General Joe Peters of Wyoming County and white rights activist Sean Donahue of Hazleton.
Democrats include former Gov. Ed Rendell’s agriculture secretary Denny Wolff, from Columbia County; Air Force veteran Robert Alan Howe of Cumberland County and former Hazleton Mayor Mike Marsicano of Hazle Twp.
Herschel thinks she will remain in the 10th district and Wolff thinks he will remain in the 11th. Their home counties have historically been part of the district they want to represent, they said, though nothing is guaranteed.
“I think a good thing is when you live in the middle of the district, you’re in a pretty good position to still be in the district,” Wolff, 66, said, noting Columbia’s central location in the 11th. “We just don’t know what other counties might be in it. My best advice is you just continue forward with your campaign and (eventually) . you’ll know what the new lines are.”
“This whole episode is unprecedented so I’m unsure how helpful history will be as a guide,” Bloom, 57,