Supreme Court will not block new PA congressional map in blow to Republicans

Key Points
  • The U.S. Supreme Court chose not to block a new Pennsylvania congressional district map.
  • The district map, drawn by Pennsylvania's Supreme Court, replaces one drawn by Republicans in the state.
  • The new map makes Democrats more competitive in multiple House districts in Pennsylvania.
A voter's sticker in front of the Liberty Bell as Americans head to the polls in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on election day November 8, 2016.
Dominick Reuter | AFP | Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court turned down a Republican request Monday to block Pennsylvania's new congressional map.

The action deals a blow before the midterm elections to the GOP, which benefited from the previous state district map the party drew. Last month, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court cast aside the state's old map and redrew its 18 congressional districts.

Under the new district map that will likely be in place for November's midterm elections, multiple Republican-held seats would become more competitive. Democrats hope gains in the state will help them win the 24 GOP-held seats needed to take a House majority.

Republicans in the state legislature opposing the map argued the Democrat-majority court unfairly drew the lines for partisan gain. Earlier Monday, a panel of federal judges in Pennsylvania also declined to block the map.

The state's primary elections will take place May 15. Candidates are already in the process of working their way on to the primary ballot. Some who are seeking office could have found themselves in different districts depending on which map was in effect in November.

Several Pennsylvania districts previously held by Republicans are considered competitive later this year under the new map. Strong special election performance by Democrats, most recently in southwestern Pennsylvania, and a string of retirements has increased GOP worries about holding on to enough seats to keep a House majority.

Here are the expected battleground districts in Pennsylvania in November:

  • The 7th District, represented by outgoing GOP Rep. Patrick Meehan.
  • The 15th District, held by outgoing Republican Rep. Charlie Dent.
  • The 6th District, represented by GOP Rep. Ryan Costello, who reportedly has considered retirement.
  • The 8th District, held by Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.
  • The 12th District, represented by GOP Rep. Keith Rothfus. Democrat Conor Lamb, the apparent winner in Pennsylvania's 18th District special election last week, would run in this district under the new congressional map.