Eichelberger talks campaign, map during town hall

Senator: Court drawing map would be ‘unconstitutional’

CLAYSBURG — State Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr., R-Blair, clarified Tuesday evening that he is just running for Congress, debunking rumors he was circulating petitions for both Rep. Bill Shuster’s seat and his current position.

“I have no plans for that, and I am not doing that right now,” Eichelberger said at a town hall meeting Tuesday. “Either Congress or no office or I would consider making a decision based on talking with a lot of people if they wanted me to run again for state Senate,” he continued, indicating he was going to wait for the results of the new congressional map.

The state Supreme Court ruled 5-2 along party lines with Democrats in the majority that the current map of congressional districts is unconstitutional because the court said they were drawn to maintain a Republican majority in the state congressional delegation.

Gov. Tom Wolf rejected a new map proposed by Republican legislative leaders on Tuesday, contending it suffered the same problem.

The state Supreme Court set a Friday deadline for Wolf and the Legislature to present a new map for approval or the justices said they will draw one.

Eichelberger said it would be “unconstitutional” for the Supreme Court to draw a map of the congressional districts.

“The constitution directs the Legislature to draw the map and to have it signed by the governor,” Eichelberger said, adding he thinks the court has no expertise to redraw the map.

“Being fair isn’t part of the legal decision,” Eichelberger said. “If it’s legal, it’s legal. If it’s constitutional, it’s constitutional. Fairness is a subjective term that people use for different reasons,” Eichelberger said.

Due to the congressional map redrawing, the petition period for congressional candidates has been pushed back to Feb. 27.

Mirror Staff Writer Shen Wu Tan is at 946-7457.