Candidates set to circulate petitions amid realignment

As state Republicans hold out hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will block Pennsylvania’s new Congressional map they say favors Democrats, House candidates are preparing to circulate petitions allowing them to run for office.

The realignment of House districts has changed the political boundaries across the state, but candidates shouldn’t have to worry about putting in extra work circulating those petitions.

For now, the map is set, with petitioning not beginning until Feb. 27, according to Forest Lehman, Lycoming Count Voters Services director.

In other words, no candidate could have even begun the petition process which runs until March 20.

Voters can certainly expect changes in many cases with entire counties now placed in other Congressional districts.

U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Cogan Station, has served the 10th District for several terms, but under the realignment, he will seek re-election in the newly remapped 12th District which includes Lycoming County. The 10th District moves farther south to include Dauphin and Cumberland counties.

“Marino would be filing petitions to run in the 12th (District),” Lehman said. “But he still represents the 10th ’til next year.”

Marino was not available Thursday to comment.

Republican Doug McLinko, a Bradford County commissioner, and Democrat Judy Herschel, of Susquehanna County, are also running in the Congressional primary. Both reside in the newly realigned 12th District.

Marc Friedenberg originally had his eyes set on the 5th House seat. Now, he finds himself seeking the Democratic nomination for the 12th Congressional spot.

“In this new map, my family and I live in the 12th Congressional District,” he said. “I first decided to run for Congress because my family, my friends, and my neighbors deserve better representation in government, and I felt called to act. That hasn’t changed just because the map has.”

Republicans, including House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, claim the state Supreme Court usurped its authority by seizing the redistricting process.