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Reed Joins Congressional Race Amid Redistricting Chaos

Matt Rourke
State House leader Dave Reed speaks to the media on Oct. 7, 2015.

State House Majority Leader Dave Reed is officially running for congress—becoming the second top Republican in the chamber to seek higher office this year.

He’s aiming to grab the sprawling southwestern 9th District seat held by retiring republican Bill Shuster. But his decision comes at a time when that district—and all the others in Pennsylvania—are facing a somewhat uncertain future.

On Monday, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled the state congressional maps unconstitutional, and ordered the legislature and governor to submit new ones by Feb. 15.

If that order proceeds without intervention from the U.S. Supreme Court, Reed—a powerful member of the House—will have a hand in drawing the new maps, even as he runs for congress.

He maintained it won’t be an issue.

“With the actual congressional maps, there’s no added interest from the majority leader’s perspective,” he said.

But Terry Madonna, a political analyst with Franklin and Marshall College, said that isn’t how he’s ever seen congressional redistricting work.

“All of the members don’t have an equal say, come on,” he said. “That’s not how the legislature functions.”

Madonna noted, because the process will have to be so short, House and Senate leaders may actually have more say than usual.

State Sen. John Eichelberger, who’s running against Reed for congress, said if he sees “in any way that there’s any kind of advantage given to the majority leader, then I certainly would object to that.”

“But,” he added, “I don’t know that there would be.”

If the legislature can’t make its Feb. 15 deadline, the state’s highest court will draw the new map.

Reed said he thinks that’s the likeliest outcome.

The 15-year veteran of the legislature does not plan to seek reelection to the state House, but will maintain his seat and leadership role until his term ends.