In a surprise to Democrats this week, the state’s Supreme Court refused to take up the case, which will now give outsized influence to a conservative lower court in determining the new maps, instead of the Democratic-majority high court. Now, multiple House Democrats worry their party’s carefully honed litigation strategy could potentially backfire, complicating an already messy battle to redraw their state’s maps — even as Elias and his team insist there were zero missteps. “This is the first time I've been nervous about redistricting,” said one person closely involved with the Pennsylvania Democrats’ process, speaking on the condition of anonymity to openly discuss the ongoing legal process. Both Elias and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which oversees the party’s legal efforts, said the lawsuits had to first be filed in the lower, more conservative court. But the tension between the state and national players over complex legal questions underscores how anxieties are running high in a state that’s key to Democrats’ fading hopes of keeping the House majority. “It was going in the commonwealth court either way,” Elias said, strongly defending the strategy. “I don't know where their disconnect is.” “We're all in procedural back and forth with these courts,” added Kelly Ward Burton, the president of the NDRC, whose affiliate is involved with the lawsuit. The challenge had to start in the lower Commonwealth Court, she said. “And I think there is still potential to get to the [state] Supreme Court, so I wouldn't say we're worried yet.” The state Legislature and governor are almost certain to blow past the unofficial Jan. 24 deadline set by Pennsylvania’s election officials, leaving the conservative lower court in charge of selecting the map. But Elias pointed to another date: the end of last month, citing a state officials’ statements that in order to open the candidate filing period in February on time, the map needed to pass the Legislature by the end of the year. Anxious Democrats say the national group’s strategy could, at the very least, cost precious time and energy ahead of the midterms because they involved the lower conservative court. At worst, they say it could threaten several key incumbents and result in Republicans assuming a large majority of the state's congressional districts. Most of the state’s congressional delegation — which met Thursday night for a briefing on the latest developments — is unwilling to comment on the record until the map is finalized. But privately, Democrats are exasperated this week after the state’s highest court declined to intervene in the map-drawing, dashing hopes that they could avoid a contentious lower-court battle. Asked if she had concerns that the state Supreme Court had not yet taken jurisdiction, Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) said: “The whole redistricting is concerning all of us.” But Wild, and others, declined to comment on the map or litigation until it was final. The redistricting fight has been so consuming that several House members, including Reps. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) and Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.), raised the issue with Obama-era Attorney General Eric Holder, who now chairs the party’s redistricting committee. Houlahan and Dean pressed Holder during an unrelated call hosted by the New Democrat Coalition this week, according to multiple people familiar with the remarks. Adding insult, Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough has taken up the case. McCullough is perhaps best known for handing Trump a brief legal victo . . . read the full article here.