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Redistricting Forces Local Congressman Into Primary Race

Pittsburgh's North Hills are currently represented by Democrats Rep. Jason Altmire (4th District) and Rep. Michael Doyle (14th District). Altmire now faces a race with Rep. Mark Critz (12th District) to retain his seat in Congress.

 

North Hills residents could lose their current federal lawmaker because of a congressional redistricting map put together by Republicans in the state General Assembly that was passed through the Pennsylvania statehouse Tuesday afternoon.

The redrawn map of Pennsylvania's 18 new congressional districts merges Democrats Rep. Jason Altmire (D-4) of McCandless and Rep. Mark Critz (D-12) of Johnstown into one legislative district—the new 12th district. That means that one of the two incumbents will be forced out in a primary leading up to the 2012 general election.

Pittsburgh's North Hills are currently represented by Democrats Rep. Jason Altmire in the 4th District and Rep. Michael Doyle in the 14th District.

Under the new plan, 66 percent of the constituents in the new 12th congressional district would be pulled from the current 4thcongressional district, which includes the North Hills. 

Last week, the state Senate voted 26-24 to approve the congressional redistricting plan. On Tuesday afternoon, the House voted 136-61 in favor of the measure.  The legislation will now head to Gov. Corbett for approval.

In response, Altmire released a video biography to help introduce himself to residents of the newly drawn 12th Congressional District in preparation for next year’s election.

“As I continue to serve the constituents in the district I currently represent, I am also beginning the process of reaching out to voters in the newly drawn 12th district, where I live and plan to seek re-election in 2012," Altmire said in a statement. 

"In the weeks and months ahead, I look forward to visiting with residents throughout the new district as I begin my re-election campaign."

Calls to Rep. Critz have not been returned.

Democrats, who introduced their own version of the map as an amendment, which then failed, blasted Republicans for the plan.

"The Republicans have proposed a map far more partisan and gerrymandered than anyone would have guessed, a map that they will now force into law without any public input," Jim Burn, Pennsylvania Democratic Chairman, stated in a press release. 

"We knew that the Republicans would use their control of the process to draw a map that benefited Republicans, but we did not expect them to abuse their power to this degree, all while shutting out the public."

The redrawn map features significant changes because the state's congressional delegation is losing a seat for the 2012 election thanks to the 2010 census. Pennsylvania will go from 19 to 18 seats, with each new district representing about 705,000 people.

In the 2000 census, Pennsylvania lost two seats, moving from 21 representatives in Congress to 19.

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