The latest from Pennsylvania:
There’s still no word from the U.S. Supreme Court on last week’s request from Pennsylvania Republicans to stay a state Supreme Court order that invalidated the state’s 18 congressional districts as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.
The stay request went to Justice Alito, as Rick Hasen observes at the Election Law Blog, and while the state GOP asked the Court to respond quickly – as soon as Wednesday, Jan. 31, ideally, with state Supreme Court deadlines for new maps rapidly approaching – all has been quiet.
Hasen reads that as a “bad sign” for Republicans: “So this makes me think that the Justice will either simply deny the order, or he has referred it to the Court, which will deny the order, either on Monday or by Wednesday at the latest.”
A New Jersey district already in Democratic cross-hairs becomes even more important today, as Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen announced he would not seek re-election.
The veteran Republican lawmaker has served New Jersey’s 11th District since 1995.
While Frelinghuysen was comfortably re-elected in 2016 – winning by nearly 20 percentage points – the wealthy, suburban district tightened considerably at the presidential level. Donald Trump won here by only 1 percentage point over Hillary Clinton, and districts like this have become key to the Democratic strategy to flip the U.S. House.
The leading Democratic candidate is a woman and a former Navy helicopter pilot, Mikie Sherrill.
The University of Virginia’s Crystal Ball moved the seat from “leans Republican” to “toss-up” on the news.
In other news:
At Vice, Robert Wheel has some advice on safe Democratic seats where activists might consider primaries if they want to push the caucus to the left or generate more diversity.
Maria Panaritis of the Philadelphia Inquirer drives across the legendarily gerrymandered 7th District in Pennsylvania, best known as “Donald Duck Kicking Goofy.” Among many observations, she sees how specific the Republican map-makers were as they went block-by-block in an African-American city, Chester. As she writes: “The GOP shrewdly grabbed just a sliver of Chester for the Seventh. On one block, we see a house with a blue American flag in a window, honoring police and firefighters. On another, a parked car with a bumper sticker: “Read the Bible before they read it at your funeral.”