First Read: “Two years after Donald Trump shocked the political world by winning Pennsylvania in the general election (and after Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., surprisingly won re-election, too), the GOP isn’t showing the same kind of strength — at least from last night’s primary returns. The competitive GOP Senate primary between Barletta and James Christiana got fewer votes (a combined 681,000) than incumbent Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., got in running unopposed (743,000). Additionally, more Democrats turned out to vote in PA-1 (49,000 vs. 47,000) and PA-7 primaries (45,000 vs. 31,700), which will be competitive general-election races come November.”
“The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a request from Pennsylvania Republican legislative leaders to block the implementation of a redrawn congressional map that creates more parity between the political parties in the state,” the Washington Post reports.
“The practical impact is the 2018 elections in the state are likely to be held with a map much more favorable to Democrats, who scored a surprising victory last week in a special election in Pennsylvania.”
Nate Cohn: “The Republican-drawn map was an extreme outlier compared with the simulations made by Jowei Chen of the University of Michigan, who has provided expert testimony in many redistricting cases. None of the simulations favored Republicans by anywhere near as much as the congressional map enacted in 2011, which gave the Republicans a 13-to-5 advantage. And partly on that basis, the court ruled that the map violated the state’s constitution.”
“But what about the remedial map recently adopted by the court? It is not an outlier to the same extent as the Republican-drawn map. But if you look at what 2016 statewide results would have been with the new map, the overall Democratic performance arguably would have been better than in all 500 of Mr. Chen’s simulations.
Nate Cohn: “Few people expected that the Pennsylvania congressional map, which the state Supreme Court ordered redrawn to undo Republican gerrymandering, would prove to be as favorable to Democrats as the one adopted by the court on Monday.”
“Perhaps the easiest way to convey the cause for surprise: The new map is better for Democrats — by nearly every measure — than the maps that Democrats themselves proposed.”
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Monday released a new congressional district map to be used for the 2018 elections for U.S. House seats,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
“Its plan splits only 13 counties. Of those, four counties are split into three districts and nine are split into two districts. By contrast the most recent map, enacted in 2011, split 28 counties… Many of the changes seem generally favorable for Democrats.”
Rick Hasen: “The early indications are that this is a much more competitive map which will help the Democrats compared to the gerrymandered maps drawn by the Republican legislature. Given Nate Persily’s general reputation for fairness, I expect that these maps will be fair and comply with the requirements set out by the state Supreme Court.”
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is set to release a new congressional district map on Monday, after weeks of political and legal fighting following its ruling that the map adopted in 2011 was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
“But whatever the map looks like, don’t expect it to end the battle.”
“Republican lawmakers have vowed to resist the court’s order, saying they will seek a federal challenge to whatever map is selected.”
Washington Post: “On Friday, Republican leaders in the legislature submitted their new map for the governor’s approval. As directed by the Supreme Court, the new map is much more compact than the old one… The new districts generally respect county and municipal boundaries and don’t ‘wander seemingly arbitrarily across Pennsylvania,’ as the state’s Supreme Court wrote.”
“Unfortunately for Pennsylvania voters, the new districts show just as much partisan bias as the old ones.”
“Under the existing map, Democratic House candidates have routinely received roughly 50 percent of the statewide popular House vote but only five of the state’s 18 House seats. The new map is unlikely to change that.”
Pennsylvania state Senate president pro tempore Joe Scarnati (R) said that he “will not cooperate with the state Supreme Court’s request to turn over data after it found that the state’s congressional map was unconstitutionally gerrymandered,” The Hill reports.
Philadelphia Inquirer: “Republican lawmakers, including Scarnati, have said the court order does not give them enough time to draw a new map, especially because the justices did not provide a full opinion when they released the order overturning the map. By imposing a tight timeline with little guidance, the Republicans argue, the court sets them up to fail, clearing the way for the justices to draw their own map.”
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“A Pennsylvania judge said Friday the state’s Congressional districts were drawn to give Republicans an advantage, but they did not violate the state Constitution, ruling in a high-profile gerrymandering case with the potential to have major consequences on the 2018 midterm elections,” the New York Times reports.
“The case now goes to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which has agreed to fast-track it. If the court rejects Judge Brobson’s conclusion, it could order new maps drawn in time for the 2018 midterm elections. Pennsylvania is expected to be fiercely fought terrain next year in elections turning on President Trump’s popularity.”
“The Pennsylvania Senate Democrats have been hit by a ransomware attack that has locked senators and employees out of their computer network since the early morning hours of Friday,” state officials told NBC News.
“In a ransomware attack, hackers inject a network with malware that typically encrypts important data, and then demand payment in exchange for a key that releases the data. They threaten to destroy the data if they aren’t paid.”
A new Suffolk University poll in Pennsylvania shows Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by nine points, 50% to 41%.
Said pollster David Paleologos: “Hillary Clinton is flirting with fifty thanks to Philly. At this point Clinton’s large lead in the Philadelphia area is offsetting losses to Trump in other parts of the state. She also is amassing the support of women and thus drowning out Trump’s marginal lead among men.”
In the U.S. Senate race, Katie McGinty (D) leads Sen. Pat Toomey (R), 43% to 36%, with a considerably high 20% still undecided.
“Nearly everyone can agree that Donald Trump’s path to the White House goes through Pennsylvania,” Politico reports.
“But local party leaders in some of the state’s most pivotal counties say there’s been almost no outreach from his campaign so far, and there’s scant evidence of any Trump-driven ground organization. What infrastructure is in place lags behind the Democratic coordinated campaign on behalf of Hillary Clinton.”
David Wasserman: “Hillary Clinton has a substantial lead in the polls over Donald Trump, and has vastly more cash on hand. But when it comes to spending that cash, her campaign may be making a strategic miscalculation. The campaign and an allied super PAC have reserved $137 million of ads across eight states — yet they’ve conspicuously left out the state that might be likeliest to tip the 2016 election: Pennsylvania.”
“Michigan and Wisconsin were absent from the list, as well, but the Keystone State is the most curious Rust Belt omission. In May, we laid out the case for why the Keystone State could be on pace to decide a close national race. Evidently, Democratic ad strategists don’t share that view.”
Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “We are shifting one state a bit toward Trump, although Democrats retain an advantage there. Pennsylvania, potentially the most important state in 2016, moves from Likely Democratic to Leans Democratic. Trump is targeting the state, and a number of his more plausible paths to 270 include turning the Keystone State red for the first time since 1988.”
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Pennsylvania finds Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by just one point, 41% to 40%
The reason? Clinton loses a whopping 15% of Democrats to Trump and loses nearly 30% of Sanders supporters to Trump or third party candidates Jill Stein and Gary Johnson.
However, if she can win back even half of the Sanders supporter holdouts, it would become a more comfortable seven point lead for Clinton, 47% to 40%.
David Wasserman: “When most people think of battleground America, they think of Florida and Ohio, the only two states that have voted for the winner of every presidential election since 1996. They tend not to think of Pennsylvania as a classic ‘swing state’ — it has voted for the Democrat in every election since 1992, and it didn’t even crack the top 10 in 2012 campaign ad spending.”
“But in 2016, Pennsylvania could be the keystone of the Electoral College and the ultimate arbiter of whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”