HARRISBURG — House Majority Leader Dave Reed announced Tuesday that he is running for Congress, adding a new wrinkle in the already complicated process of redrawing the state's congressional maps.
Reed, 38, a Republican from Indiana County, announced via Facebook Tuesday morning that he is running in the Ninth Congressional District, which covers parts of Western and Central Pennsylvania. The seat, being vacated by U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, has for decades been considered a safe race for Republicans, although that can lead to a crowded primary field.
Reed's announcement came one day after the state Supreme Court ordered the redrawing of the state's congressional maps. The Republican-controlled legislature has until Feb. 9 to submit a map to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who must approve a map by Feb. 15. If those deadlines aren't met, the state Supreme Court has said it will select a map itself.
It's unclear exactly how the map-making process will unfold. Leaders from both parties were scrambling Tuesday to come up with a plan, even as attorneys for Republican leaders worked to prepare possible appeals.
Traditionally, a majority leader would play a key role in the map-making process, as they do on all pieces of legislation. Reed has been majority leader for three years and plans to remain in that position during his congressional campaign.
A spokesman for Reed said Tuesday evening that he plans to recuse himself from the map-drawing process.
That appeared to be a shift from earlier in the day when Reed, when asked by the Inquirer and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, pointed out that he feels the majority leader plays a lesser role in drawing congressional maps than in drawing maps for state races.
"For the congressional maps, it's the entire legislative body with the governor that actually physically votes on those particular bills," he said. "There is no added interest from the majority leader's perspective in that map drawing, and quite, frankly, I think we're probably going to end up with maps drawn by the Supreme Court."
The state Democratic Party on Tuesday afternoon called for Reed to recuse himself.
Reed began serving in the state House in 2003 and said he will not run for re-election to the state House. A news release issued by Reed's campaign, suggested he will focus on "national defense, balanced budgets, sane economic policy, and the protection of the dignity of life" during his congressional race.