EN­DAN­GERED REPUB­LI­CANS

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS -

The re­drawn dis­tricts over­hauled a map in which Trump won 12 of Penn­syl­va­nia’s 18 dis­tricts — one of them by a frac­tion of a per­cent­age point — in 2016. Un­der the new map, Trump would have won 10.

Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic strate­gists agree that three in­cum­bent Repub­li­can con­gress­men face se­ri­ous chal­lenges: sec­ondterm Ryan Costello, fresh­man Brian Fitz­patrick and third-term Keith Roth­fus.

Costello, who an­nounced Sun­day he is re­tir­ing, was in dire straits.

Un­der the dis­carded map, Costello’s sub­ur­ban Philadel­phia dis­trict had a Repub­li­can ma­jor­ity that nev­er­the­less helped Clin­ton beat Trump there by 2 per­cent­age points in 2016. The re­drawn dis­trict has slightly more Democrats and Clin­ton would have won it by 9 per­cent­age points. Demo­cratic chal­lenger Chrissy Houla­han is con­sid­ered one of the top 33 chal­lengers na­tion­wide by the Demo­cratic Con­gres­sional Cam­paign Com­mit­tee. Al­though his name will re­main on the May 15 bal­lot, Costello’s de­ci­sion not to seek an­other term, clears the way for a Demo­crat to take the 6th Dis­trict.

Fitz­patrick’s dis­trict was al­ready a swing dis­trict, and the court’s bound­aries made it slightly tougher for a Repub­li­can. It now has about 10,000 more Democrats and Clin­ton would have won it by 2 per­cent­age points. Three Democrats filed pe­ti­tions to chal­lenge him.

Roth­fus’ 100-mile-long dis­trict in west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia was re­drawn into a tight shape in sub­ur­ban Pitts­burgh. A rock-solid con­ser­va­tive dis­trict that Trump won by nearly 21 per­cent­age points is now con­sid­ered a tossup. Com­pound­ing the bad news for Roth­fus is that Lamb lives in the dis­trict and filed to run there, al­though Lamb still faces a three-way pri­mary race.

THE TOSSUP DIS­TRICT

Re­tir­ing Repub­li­can Rep. Char­lie Dent’s 80-mile-long dis­trict in east­ern Penn­syl­va­nia was re­drawn back into its long­time Al­len­town-area ter­ri­tory and is con­sid­ered a tossup. Six Democrats and two Repub­li­cans filed to run there.

FLIP­PING A DIS­TRICT

Now that he isn’t run­ning again, Repub­li­can Rep. Pat Mee­han’s seat is ex­pected to fall into Demo­cratic hands. The dis­trict — nick­named “Goofy Kick­ing Don­ald Duck” for its con­torted bound­aries snaking through four coun­ties that Repub­li­cans drew to save Mee­han from Philadel­phia’s in­creas­ingly lib­eral sub­urbs — was com­pressed back into its his­toric Delaware County base. Clin­ton would have won it by 28 per­cent­age points.

With that in mind, an eye-pop­ping 14 Democrats filed to run there. Delaware County’s Demo­cratic Party chair­man David Lan­dau said he couldn’t pre­dict who would win.

For years, the party strug­gled to find good can­di­dates to chal­lenge Mee­han, Lan­dau said.

“Since Don­ald Trump be­came pres­i­dent, no more,” Lan­dau said. “Since re­dis­trict­ing, we found even more good can­di­dates.”

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