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.”