Rep. Mark Critz's predecessor, the late John P. Murtha, won a special election in 1974 and ended up serving 18 terms in Congress. His former district director might not get the chance, as Pennsylvania's Rorschach test of a 12th District is likely going to be chopped up in the coming Republican-controlled redistricting process, as Pennsylvania loses congressional seats.
In Sunday's PG, Jim O'Toole had a broad look at the history and future of redistricting. A key quote from state GOP chair and fellow Johnstowner Rob Gleason tells you all you need to know about the Murtha-Critz district:
Robert Gleason, the state Republican chairman, said it was too early to assess where the new lines would fall but added, "They're working on it now. Obviously, we want to protect our people, but the important thing to me is that the process be fair and transparent.''
Referring to the 12th District, which includes his Johnstown home and snakes improbably through a handful of southwestern Pennsylvania counties, he said, "This district we have now where I am is terrible. That's the type of gerrymandering I don't favor at all.''
Noting that the 12th District had been represented by a Johnstown resident for generations -- Mr. Murtha for more than 30 years and Republican John Saylor before him -- he said, "Critz lives here but that may be coming to an end."
Nationally, the National Journal's Hotline reports today that, because of an astounting 680-seat gain by the GOP in state legislatures, Republicans could parlay redistricting into another 10 House seats in 2012.