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Gov. Tom Wolf Signals Readiness For Congressional District Map Discussions

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday released the priorities for drawing Pennsylvania's new congressional districts given to him by panel he picked, signaling that he is ready to start discussions with Republicans who control the Legislature.

In theory, the principles given to Wolf will guide the Democrat in his dealings with Republican lawmakers, less than four years after a divided state Supreme Court redrew the map to replace a GOP-drawn map it judged to be unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

The principles, summed up in a four-page document, include anti-gerrymandering bulwarks such as making sure districts have compact shapes, split as few political subdivisions as possible and reflect the state's prevailing political tastes, with enough competitive districts to stay in step with changing voter sentiments.

The principles make no mention of ensuring incumbents have their own district in which to seek re-election.

Currently, Pennsylvania's 18-member congressional delegation is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. But Pennsylvania's task is complicated by the need to draw 17 districts to replace its 18 districts.

Wolf has the ability to veto anything passed by the Legislature.

If Wolf and the Legislature cannot agree on a map, it could be left to the state Supreme Court to draw districts again before Feb. 15, when candidates can start circulating petitions to get on the May 17 primary.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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