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After Special Election, Attention Quickly Turns To Planned 14th District

Pennsylvania Supreme Court and Google Maps
On the left, the current congressional map is pictured. The state Supreme Court’s version, on the right, would bring all of Greene, Fayette, and Washington Counties, and much of Westmoreland County, into the 18th District and renumber it the 14th.";

In the wake of Tuesday’s special election in the 18th Congressional District, attention has quickly turned to the district that could soon replace the 18th – the 14th District.

At least three Democrats and two Republicans say they’ll be on the ballot in the 14th for the May primary, assuming the lines issued by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court survive two pending lawsuits.

The Republicans are State Sen. Guy Reschenthaler of Jefferson Hills and state Rep. Rick Saccone. Saccone ran in Tuesday’s special election but is not expected to prevail.

Credit Keith Srakocic / AP
State Rep. Rick Saccone (R - Elizabeth) has served in the Pennsylvania House since 2010.

Democrats Tom Prigg of McCandless, Adam Sedlock of Wharton, and Bob Solomon of Oakdale also plan to run.

That means, as a resident of Fayette County, Sedlock, a psychologist, is the only declared candidate who would actually live in the 14th. All of the other candidates live in Allegheny County, adjacent to the planned 14th.


Under the U.S. Constitution, representatives simply must reside in the same state as their constituents, not necessarily the same district.

Solomon points out he lives just miles from the new 14th. The emergency physician had been planning to challenge former GOP Congressman Tim Murphy in the previous 18th District.


“I feel a strong connection with the people of those counties, and I have a background in serving them as a physician,” Solomon said. “It feels natural to me to choose to run in a district where I’ve been campaigning.”


Credit Bob Solomon for Congress
Bob Solomon (D - Oakdale) has worked as an emergency medicine physician at hospitals in Canonsburg, Pa., Waynesburg, Pa., and Wheeling, W.Va.

Prigg, also a Democrat, is coming from farther away. The brain researcher had been running in the old 12th District, which stretched from Beaver to Cambria and Somerset counties, before the state’s high court issued the new lines.

The Washington County native says he’s excited to return to the district where he grew up, but acknowledges that the quick switch has been challenging.

“Gathering signatures, starting and collecting in one district, where you’ve got a group, a pool of volunteers, and then basically restructuring and changing direction in an entirely different congressional district is very, very stressful,” Prigg said.

Credit Tom Prigg for Congress Committee
Tom Prigg (D - McCandless) is a brain researcher at the University of Pittsburgh.

Prigg expects to gather the 1,000 signatures required to qualify for the congressional ballot by the March 20 deadline. He said he’s also gathered some signatures in his old district, just in case a federal court strikes down the new map.

The 14th would include all of Greene Fayette and Washington counties and much of Westmoreland county. It is considered favorable territory for the GOP.

*This post was updated at 8:47 a.m. on Friday, March 16, 2018, to reflect that Reschenthaler and Sedlock plan to run in the 14th District.

An-Li Herring is a reporter for 90.5 WESA, with a focus on economic policy, local government, and the courts. She previously interned for NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg in Washington, DC, and the investigations team at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A Pittsburgh native, An-Li completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan and earned her law degree from Stanford University. She can be reached at aherring@wesa.fm.
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