A preliminary congressional district map was released Tuesday and essentially splits Somerset County in half.
The map will put Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Critz into a district with Democratic colleague Jason Altmire, who lives in Allegheny County. The map wraps Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster's district around the newly formed Critz/Altmire district.
A municipal breakdown of the new districts was not available Tuesday evening. It appears that Shuster lost Somerset Borough and township while keeping everything south of Stonycreek Township. The Critz/Altmire district moves further into Somerset County, picking up areas removed from Shuster's district.
In an email to the Daily American, Critz said the boundaries of his district may have changed, but his priorities remain the same.
"My focus will continue to be fighting for the policies that will protect jobs for people who have them and creating jobs for those who need them while protecting Social Security, Medicare and veterans programs," he said.
He said he looks forward to a spirited campaign.
"I have been honored to represent the 12th Congressional District in Congress and I look forward to continuing to represent this district beyond the 2012 election," he said. "My top priority in Congress has been creating jobs for western Pennsylvania's families by fighting unfair trade deals and leading the fight to end unfair currency manipulation by China."
Shuster did not comment on the maps Tuesday evening.
A new congressional map is required every 10 years to reflect population shifts. Because Pennsylvania grew more slowly than the rest of the nation, it will lose a U.S. House seat, dropping from 19 to 18.
Eliminating a seat in southwestern Pennsylvania made sense, Republicans say, because of the area's population losses during the past decade.
State Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar, R-Allegheny Township, said the Senate State Government Committee is scheduled to approve the map today and then the map will go to the Senate floor.
"We're expecting it to be over here at the House Thursday so that our State Government Committee can look at whatever the Senate sends us," he said.
Metzgar said he believes the map will be final sometime next week. Unlike the state maps there is no public comment period. The map is part of legislation that will eventually need to be signed by the governor.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
Redistricting plan forces Critz and Altmire into the same district
Congressional map (Michelle Ganassi)
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