7th Heaven? Hardly

I fully expected to wake up this morning and see the smiling face of Clare Putnam Pozos on the front page of today's newspaper beside the headline, "She's the One."

That didn't happen.

Pozos quit her job as an assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia to seek the Republican nomination for the 7th District seat in Congress being vacated by incumbent Republican Pat Meehan.

That is not because the Delaware County GOP has soured on her. I still think she will be the GOP candidate.

The problem is no one is quite sure just what the 7th District is going to look like. It's at the heart of a redistricting dispute in which the state's Supreme Court has ordered the Legislature to redraw the maps. Republicans submitted their plan last Friday. Democrats still don't like it. Gov. Wolf has until Thursday to accept it and submit it to the court. If there is no plan, the court has indicated they will draw up one of their own - all in time for the May primary.

So last night the Delaware County Republican Party did not offer an endorsement. Instead they heard from a handful of candidates, including Pozos.

Here's why I think Pozos is the front-runner.

It's the year of the woman. The #MeToo movement has blown the lid off a longstanding problem among our elected representatives at just about every level. Our "representative" government is not nearly representative enough. Especially when it comes to women.

The sexual harassment saga is pushing a new political movement among women to get involved in the process. The 7th, which has rested comfortably in the hands of the GOP and Meehan since the last redistricting in 2011, already was going to be a much sterner test in the 2018 mid-terms. An anti-Trump push powered by women hit home last November, when Delco Democrats did something they have been talking about - but failing to do - for decades. They elected a person to Delaware County Council. Not only that, but they won both seats, as well as all three row offices up for grabs.

The anti-Trump movement in a county that bucked the state trend and voted for Hillary Clinton was expected to create problems for Meehan's re-election.

Then the incumbent had his own #MeeToo moment. Call it #MeehanToo.

Word broke that he used taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment claim of his own filed by a former staffer. While he was sitting on the Ethics Committee in judgment of others. He denied any wrongdoing, calling the payment a severance package. He did a series of disastrous interviews trying to explain his side of the story. The next day he indicated he would not seek re-election.

Several women are seeking the Democratic nomination.

I full expected the local Republicans - who did not get where they are by being deaf and dumb when it comes to what's in the political wind - to follow suit. That's where Pozos, who only announced her candidacy Saturday, comes in.

Then there is the shape of the 7th District itself. It is considered Exhibit A in the dangers of gerrymandering and redistricting. Its contorted shape - two large chunks of turf that are bent and twisted to include GOP strongholds - is so bad it is routinely mocked as "Goofy Kicking Donald Duck." The Republican version of a new 7th shows a much more contiguous district.

For now, everything is on hold until the shape of the 7th District is etched in stone.

Look for Pozos to carry the GOP banner, very likely against a woman leading the Democratic field.

In the meantime, on today's editorial page, we talk about what could wind up being the Year of the Woman in local politics.