With state Rep. Frank Ryan deciding to bow out of politics after his third term in Harrisburg ends this fall, residents of the 101st Legislative District may wonder who his successor in office will be.
That still remains to be seen.
Dan Sidelnick, chairman of the Lebanon County Democratic Committee, noted that the lines defining the 101st and 102nd House districts – which overlay Lebanon County – remain ambiguous. Although the Legislative Reapportionment Commission released new maps for Pennsylvania on Feb. 4, there is still a chance that the redistricting plan will be successfully appealed and changed once more.
Redistricting, required by constitutional law every 10 years to reflect demographic shifts identified by the U.S. Census, was accomplished after nearly a year of meetings, hearings and closed-door discussions that were, to say the least, sometimes contentious as Republicans and Democrats vied to redraw the lines in ways to benefit their respective parties.
The new lines were approved by a 4-1 vote by the commission.
Chairman Mark Nordenberg, who was appointed by the state Supreme Court to lead the Legislative Reapportionment Commission, sided with Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) and House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia) in approving the maps. House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre) dissented.
A legal challenge to the decision appears likely, however, although less than two weeks remain before candidates can start circulating petitions in the new districts to get on the May 17 primary ballot.
No plans to endorse
Currently, the 101st Legislative District covers Lebanon city; North Cornwall, North Londonderry, South Annville, South Londonderry and West Cornwall townships; and Mount Gretna, Palmyra and Cornwall boroughs.
Ryan, contacted just a few hours after the new maps were released, said after redistricting the 101st will lose North Londonderry and South Londonderry townships and Mount Gretna and Palmyra boroughs, but gain North, West and South Lebanon townships.
At present, Ryan said, he does not intend to endorse anyone to succeed him in office.
“I’ve talked to four or five different people who have an interest in it,” he said. “At this time, I don’t plan on getting involved … although I’ve said to every one of them, if you need assistance in terms of what’s going on in the district, I’m happy to help.”
He only plans to endorse someone, Ryan said, “if I saw some people in the race that caused me concerns about their capability. As of now, that’s not as issue.”
Lebanon County Republican Committee chairman Ed Lynch said last week that “several individuals have expressed their interest in a potential candidacy for the preliminary 101st Pennsylvania State House District.”
He did not reveal any further details, although he said he is confident the seat will remain in Republican hands.
“I do not anticipate the GOP losing the seat in the proposed 101st Pennsylvania State House District,” he said in an email to LebTown.
Sidelnick was cautious about the Democrats’ chances of capturing Ryan’s seat.
Regardless of the new maps, he said, “we all know that a Democratic candidate will still have a challenging campaign in Lebanon no matter where the lines are drawn.”
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