HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s governor and elections officials urged the state’s highest court on Monday to stand by its throwing out a congressional district map on constitutional grounds and establishing new district boundaries.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and two Department of State officials <a target=”—blank” href=”http://www.pacourts.us/assets/files/setting-6015/file-6889.pdf?cb=a2781b”>responded</a> to a request by Republican legislative leaders to put on hold the week-old <a target=”—blank” href=”http://www.pacourts.us/assets/files/setting-6061/file-6852.pdf?cb=df65be”>district map</a> .
The Wolf administration argued the <a target=”—blank” href=”http://www.pacourts.us/assets/files/setting-6015/file-6875.pdf?cb=624d8f”>request</a> by House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Joe Scarnati offered nothing new and should be turned down.
“The remedial plan is in place, the nomination petition circulation period is about to begin, and no ‘chaos’ has ensued,” Wolf administration lawyers wrote.
Turzai and Scarnati, who are pursuing a <a target=”—blank” href=”http://www.senatorscarnati.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2018/02/emergency-application-for-stay.pdf”>similar request</a> with the U.S. Supreme Court, argued in their filing Friday that state Supreme Court orders declaring the GOP-crafted 2011 map unconstitutional and establishing a new map should be put on hold.
They said the court orders “threaten harm” to this year’s congressional elections and raise federal legal questions they want to address before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Wolf administration says it is moving ahead with the new map for the May 15 primary.
“Granting a stay at this stage would confuse, complicate and undermine those preparations,” Wolf and his officials said, adding that it would “cause massive chaos and would interfere with the orderly administration of the upcoming primary election.”
Republicans have held a 13-5 majority in the state’s congressional delegation since passing the 2011 map, although over the same period Democrats won 18 out of 24 statewide elections in Pennsylvania.
Under a revised election calendar that pertains only to congressional races, candidates can begin circulating petitions on Tuesday to get on the primary ballot.