Pa. con­gres­sional can­di­dates cir­cu­late nom­i­na­tion pe­ti­tions

May have to seek votes over again if map changes

The Republican Herald - - STATE - BY BORYs Krawczeniuk STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: bkrawcze­niuk@timessham­rock.com; 570-348-9147

Con­gres­sional can­di­dates be­gan cir­cu­lat­ing pa­per­work Tues­day to get on the May 15 pri­mary elec­tion bal­lot, know­ing they might have to do it all over if court ap­peals al­ter dis­trict maps again.

The can­di­dates or their spokes­men said they are seek­ing sig­na­tures for nom­i­nat­ing pe­ti­tions based on the con­gres­sional dis­trict map bound­aries that the state Supreme Court or­dered last week, even though Repub­li­can ap­peals of the map re­main pend­ing in fed­eral courts.

“We are go­ing by the map we have in front of us,” said Brad­ford County Com­mis­sioner Doug McLinko, a Repub­li­can can­di­date for the newly drawn 12th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict seat against in­cum­bent Repub­li­can Rep. Tom Marino. “If we’ve got to do it again, we’ll do it again.”

Demo­crat Judy Her­schel, Susque­hanna County, also is run­ning in the 12th.

Can­di­dates need at least 1,000 reg­is­tered vot­ers of their party to sign pe­ti­tions to get on ei­ther the Demo­cratic or Repub­li­can pri­mary bal­lot. They have un­til March 20 to get the re­quired sig­na­tures, un­der a new dead­line es­tab­lished af­ter the Supreme Court de­clared Jan. 22 that the ex­ist­ing map vi­o­lates the state con­sti­tu­tion.

The court gave the state Gen­eral Assem­bly and Gov. Tom Wolf un­til Feb. 15 to come up with a new map. They didn’t, and the court, us­ing its own re­dis­trict­ing ex­pert, is­sued its own. Repub­li­cans ap­pealed to fed­eral courts and asked the U.S. Supreme Court to de­lay im­ple­men­ta­tion un­til the ap­peals end.

For the mo­ment, the state court’s map re­mains the law of the land and the one can­di­dates must fol­low.

Like many Repub­li­cans, McLinko said he finds the state Supreme Court’s rul­ing wrong, an in­stance of med­dling where state leg­is­la­tors should have the fi­nal say.

“To do it this way was nuts,” he said. “We can­not have the bal­ance of power de­cided in Congress by supreme courts.”

Brock McCleary, a spokesman for con­gres­sional can­di­date John Chrin, said Chrin’s pe­ti­tions will get cir­cu­lated in the Supreme Court-cre­ated 8th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict.

“That’s all you can do,” McCleary said.

Chrin, a Repub­li­can and res­i­dent of Northamp­ton County, moved there last year so he could run in the pre-court-rul­ing 17th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict, whose con­gress­man is Rep. Matt Cartwright, a Moosic Demo­crat. The Supreme Court put Cartwright’s home in the new 8th, which does not in­clude any of Northamp­ton County.

In a state­ment Tues­day, Chrin made it clear he plans to run in the 8th any­way. Un­der the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion, con­gres­sional can­di­dates must live in the state that con­tains the dis­trict they want to rep­re­sent, but may live out­side the ac­tual dis­trict. Chrin called Cartwright an “out-of-touch Wash­ing­ton politi­cian” and said he will fo­cus on “bring­ing eco­nomic growth to the re­gion.”

Cartwright, who moved to the re­gion 30 years ago, said he and his wife raised a fam­ily here, and he fought for “work­ing fam­i­lies” for 25 years as a lawyer and the last five years in Congress. As he gains se­nior­ity, he will use his seat on the House Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee “to de­liver very sig­nif­i­cant help to our en­tire area.”

Wanda Mur­ren, a spokes­woman for the state Depart­ment of State, which over­sees elec­tions, de­clined to spec­u­late on whether the depart­ment would have to resched­ule the pri­mary or or­der an­other round of cir­cu­lat­ing pe­ti­tions if a court over­turns the new dis­trict maps.

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