We appreciated Josh’s clearly explained statement about why he chose the values he did. As a repeat winner and multiple map-drawer this round, he is building quite a resume to contribute to the real process in 2021. This map had impressive metrics, achieving 12 competitive districts with only 29 jurisdictional splits. Both of these ranked first in this division. His map aims to give college students a voice, and it appears that he has a bright future being involved in PA political life.
For my Competitive/Splits map, as the name suggests, my goal was to maximize the number of competitive districts while minimizing the number of county splits. Pennsylvania, like the rest of the country, has urban areas with overwhelming Democratic support, rural areas with overwhelming Republican support, and suburban areas typically as tossups.
Recognizing this, I locked in each party's strength with Districts 8, 16, and 17 as solidly Democratic districts and Districts 11 and 14 as solidly Republican. These districts are "locks' because the registration edge is greater than 11 percentage points. Next, I created districts that are "likely" for one party, which I defined as a registration difference of 9-11 percentage points. Each party has 1 such seat with Democrats likely winning District 3 and Republicans likely winning District 12.
Next, I wanted to create districts that "lean" a certain way which I defined at a registration difference between 2 and 9 percentage points. Districts 1, 2, 7, and 9 lean D, but Districts 4, 6, 10, and 13 lean R. Finally, I wanted to create true tossups which I personally consider as the registration difference of the 2 major parties as at most 1 percent. District 15 has the registration tied at 39.0% and District 5 has a 0.8% difference. In summary, there are 3 Democratic locks, 1 likely Democratic, 4 lean Democratic, 2 tossups, 4 lean Republican, 1 likely Republican and 2 Republican lock districts. This, I think, exemplifies how PA is a swing state. With regards to the county splits, there are only 29 county splits with my map.
As a member of the Penn State College Democrats, my friends and I feel frustrated that the surrounding rural area dilutes the voting impacat of the student population. Republican Tom Marino beat Democrat Marc Friedenberg 66%-34% in PA's redrawn 12th Congressional district in November 2018. I came to the decision that my goal was to keep college students together, so District 5 includes Penn State Main Campus, Penn State Hazleton, Bloomsburg University, Bucknell University, Wilkes University, and King's College. As mentioned earlier, District 5 is a toss up, which is great since young voter turnout is constantly low across the country and a competitive district may attract higher turnout.