Would-Be Candidates Plead for District Lines

Jan 31, 2012

Don O'Shell is currently the York County Clerk of Courts, but he planned to run as a Republican for the Senate seat being vacated by Dauphin County Republican Jeff Piccola. Now that the state Supreme Court has struck down the new legislative boundaries without issuing comment, O'Shell and others are in a holding pattern.

It may be some time before the state Supreme Court explains how a legislative redistricting map should be fixed.

As they await a decision, many General Assembly candidates are focusing their campaigns in regions where the old districts and the newly drawn districts overlap. But that does not help O'Shell.

"I'm not in the overlap. I'm totally in a new area and so I can't go up to Dauphin County, for example, and circulate up there because I don't reside in Dauphin County, I reside in York County," said O'Shell.

Democrats say they're operating under the assumption the old district lines still hold for this year's elections, while Republicans say that would be unconstitutional, because districts now vary in population. State House Speaker Sam Smith has filed a federal suit based on that assumption.

During the waiting game, Representative Mario Scavello (R-Monroe County) is collecting signatures for two seats at the same time: one in his current House district and one in the newly created Monroe County Senate district.

"I pretty much have my signatures that I need for both already. Now it's just pretty much waiting to see what actually, what the decision is," said Scavello.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, candidates wishing to be on the April 24 Primary Election ballot must file nominating petitions with voters' signatures by February 14.