WASHINGTON – La Salle political science professor Mary Ellen Balchunis will launch a second campaign for Congress Saturday, aiming to take on U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan (R., Pa.) by criticizing the way his Delaware County-based district has been re-drawn.
"This tour represents how gerrymandering negatively impacts the voters' interests because now rather than the voters choosing the representatives, the representatives are choosing the voters," Balchunis said in a news release.
The oddly bifurcated district, which includes portions of Berks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster and Montgomery counties, is often cited by independent analysts as a poster-child of partisan redistricting. Balchunis plans to stop at all five counties in the district Saturday.
In a practice used by both parties across the country, Pennsylvania Republicans after 2010 redrew what was once a swing district to tilt more to the right. (The GOP controlled the state legislature and governor's office, and therefore the new map-making).
Meehan, however, had won the seat, once held by Democrat Joe Sestak, before it was redrawn. It remains a fairly moderate district, but more conservative precincts have been tacked on to the increasingly Democratic Delaware County base to help make it safer ground for the GOP.
Meehan defeated Balchunis with 62 percent of the vote last year. National Democrats focused their attention on other races in the Philadelphia region and have not made Meehan a top target this year.