We know Pennsylvania will lose one congressional seat this year. When the Republicans who control the redistricting process look at how to redraw the lines to their advantage, their best bet is to pit Democrats Jason Altmire and Mark Critz against each other, the Washington Post opines today:
Republicans draw together Altmire's 4th district and Critz's 12th district by combining the incumbents' homes in the northern Pittsburgh suburbs and Johnstown, respectively. Altmire's district remains largely the same except for extending an arm out east to Johnstown. The rest of Critz's district gets divided between three GOP districts -- Rep. Glenn Thompson's (R-Pa.) 5th district, Rep. Bill Shuster's 9th (R-Pa.), and Rep. Tim Murphy's (R-Pa.) 18th.
Holden, meanwhile, actually gets safer. His 17th district reaches up into Democratic-leaning Scranton in the northeast to make things a little easier for freshman Rep. Lou Barletta (R), who holds a pretty tenuous 11th district right now. (Barletta beat longtime Democratic Rep. Paul Kanjorski in 2010.)
This is seen as a safe maneuver for the GOP, which screwed up in the last redistricting in 2001 by being too aggressive and drawing lines that handed over the majority of the state's delegation to Democrats by 2006.
Critz's base in Johnstown is already worried about losing their seat, the Tribune-Democrat reports -- led by businessman Mark Pasquerilla, the city's business boosters are hiring a GOP lobbyist and doing a fundraising campaign to fight for the 12th District seat.
Due to population losses, southwestern Pa could also bear the brunt of changes to state House and Senate seats too, according to some experts.