Case Study: Pennsylvania

PA Republicans Win Redistricting Game

Republicans hold 13 of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional seats. But in 2012, Pennsylvanians cast about 83,000 more votes for Democratic congressional candidates than for Republicans.

Achieving this lopsided delegation was the expressed goal of then-Governor Tom Corbett and PA legislature back in 2010. According to Terry Madonna, a political science professor at Franklin and Marshall College, the map Corbett approved “was created to protect the current Republican majority.”

But drawing the lines in a way to boost the GOP required some inventive cartography. For example, the New York Times described the Seventh District outside Philadelphia as a “Rorschach-test inkblot of a district snaking through five counties that helped Representative Patrick Meehan win re-election by adding Republican voters.” The Republican drawn maps helped ensure that the GOP retained its 13-5 majority in the Congressional delegation.

State Spotlight