New state house, state Senate districts for many — new district, the 74th in Coatesville area
By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times
The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court has upheld a new legislative redistricting plan, Wednesday, meaning the proposed district changes — including many in Chester County — will now go into effect for the 2014 elections.
A previous redistricting plan was tossed out by the Supreme Court in 2012, forcing last year’s legislative elections to use districts based on the 2000 Census.
Aside from a number of changes for municipalities around the county, most notably in southern Chester County, the biggest change is the addition of a new state house district, the 74th in the greater Coatesville area. The previously rejected reapportionment plan included a similar district — the 45th — that had a number of high profile candidates, Democrat and Republican, lined up to run, until the redistricting plan was set aside by the courts.
That seat, seen by many as being favorable to Democrats, is expected to be contested in a high-profile primary battle next year. Meanwhile, many other municipalities in the area will see the first change in representation since the 1990s, due to being moved into new state house districts.
But the big change will be the all-new 74th which moves to Chester County from Clearfield County. The new district will include Coatesville, Caln, East Fallowfield, Sadsbury, Valley, Downingtown, Modena, Parkesburg and South Coatesville. Among the high profile candidates expected to chase the Democratic nomination are Caln Commissioner Joshua Young and Downingtown Mayor Josh Maxwell who ran for the 155th District seat in 2012. Although seen as a difficult district for Republicans, popular former coach and educator Harry Lewis was seen by many as a strong GOP candidate for the seat in his brief run for the then-45th District seat in 2012.
With the redistricting, among Coatesville Area School District municipalities, only West Caln remains in the 26th District, represented by State Rep. Tim Hennessey. West Brandywine will stay in the 155th.
In the southern part of Chester County the changes are more subtle, but a number of towns will find themselves with new representatives in Harrisburg.
Kennett Square, Kennett Township and Pennsbury move to the 160th District, currently represented by Steve Barrar, and leave the 158th District of Chris Ross. Birmingham, which had been in the 160th, moves to the 156th District of Dan Truitt.
The lines for state Senate Districts will change, too. The 9th District, represented by Sen. Dominic Pileggi, will no longer stretch as far west, and now encompasses all but one of the municipalities of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, by adding Newlin, which had been in the 19th District of Sen. Andrew Dinniman. Kennett and Kennett Square stay in the 9th, but New Garden moves to the 19th.
West Marlborough remains in the 19th. The 19th takes on much of the west of the county, including New Garden and a swatch of the middle of the county, including South Coatesville, Valley, Modena, East Fallowfield, Sadsbury, and Coatesville. Caln, West Brandywine and West Caln are in the 44th District of Sen. John Rafferty.