Midterm elections are just around the corner, and in Pennsylvania, as well as in the immediate Pittsburgh area, will have a national impact.
The state's U.S. Senate race will most likely decide who holds the majority. Our governor's race will be the determinating factor of the balance of power in the state for the next four years, particularly notable with the push to end abortion rights in Pennsylvania. Even a Congressional race in Allegheny County will be viewed as a national bellwether.
The revamped state House and Senate lines have been approved by a commission that is made up of legislative leaders and an independent chair, and it is unanimously upheld by Pennsylvania's most highest court as part of the latest decennial redistricting process.
The maps have also helped spawn a wave of retirements that have already reshaped the 253-member Pennsylvania General Assembly.
Additionally, these untested new district lines might be able to give Democrats a long-elusive majority in the House, which could potentially be shifting the balance of power in the legislature. On top of that, following this year's redistricting cycle, both the state House and Senate ended up with fewer competitive seats.
Experts are scoring political maps for competitiveness by predicting future results based on past election cycles.
According to Dave's Redistricting App, which is a nonprofit map analysis website, there are just under 40 seats in both chambers that could be classified as competitive — which means neither major party has a majority in a district — compared to almost 60 in the previous maps.
This is partially due to the population shifts over the last ten years. More people have left rural areas and moved into urban and suburban regions, which traditionally lean towards the Democratic.