Citing part of the new 7th congressional district as resembling a schnauzer, part as a terrier and part something in the snake or lizard family, Chester County Democratic Sen. Andy Dinniman had a mythological perspective on the new district squiggling through southeastern Pennsylvania.
"If we put it all together, we potentially have a three-headed dog," he told fellow committee members this morning.
While he was alluding to Cerberus, the creature in Greek myths said to guard the entrance to the underworld, if I remember my Harry Potter references right, there's another three-headed creature in their world as well.
The Senate State Government panel approved on a 6-5 vote that new map, first released last night. That vote included two Republican votes against -- Sens. Mike Folmer of Lebanon and Mike Brubaker of Lancaster -- and one Democratic vote in favor, from Sen. Tina Tartaglione of Philadelphia.
Folmer said later that he was frustrated by what looked to him like an attempt by the Republican leadership to "compensate" for the surplus of Democrats on the state's voter registration rolls. "It could have been done in a more contiguous and compact way," he said.
That was the message from Democratic senators as well, who pointed to the new 7th District in particular as inappropriate.
"There's nothing in the law that requires us to draw something like this," said Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, responding to comments from Republicans about difficulties in meeting a federal requirement for districts to contain identical numbers of residents.
(The new map would have 13 of the 18 districts with the same number, and 5 more that contain one fewer residents.)
Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre, said that's not the only district that stretches in an odd way as the state lost a congressional representative, pointing to the 5th, which now runs from Erie to Huntingdon County in central PA and the 10th, which spans from the state's northeastern border west and then nearly reaching Harrisburg in its southern point.
The morning meeting checked one more step off for the bill, which is expected to be passed out of the full Senate later today and approved by the House next week.