Pennsylvania 19th District
The Mason-Dixon Line, the historic boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania, runs through some of the country’s most pleasant rolling farmlands, west of the Susquehanna River and through the Appalachian Mountains. The area was home to the westernmost capital of the United States during the Revolutionary War: the small city of York, capital from September 1777 to June 1778. York is where the Continental Congress passed the Articles of Confederation, received word from Benjamin Franklin in Paris that the French would help the colonies with money and ships, and issued the first proclamation calling for a national day of thanksgiving. A little more than four score years later, Robert E. Lee’s Confederate troops crossed over this invisible line and were repelled in the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. Not much today suggests that this region was either a frontier or the object of bloody struggle. The green farmland seems peaceful, prosperous and mostly undisturbed by the current era’s commercial trappings and stylistic excesses. This is where former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, of Pennsylvania Dutch stock, chose to quietly spend his retirement years.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The Mason-Dixon Line forms the southern boundary of the 19th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, which includes all of Adams and York counties and part of Cumberland County to the north—relatively fast-growing areas in slow-growing Pennsylvania. The 19th takes in the fruit belt of Adams County, the Harrisburg suburbs across the Susquehanna and part of the old town of Carlisle, with Dickinson College, the Carlisle Barracks, and the U.S. Army War College. Hanover, in York County, is one of the world’s snack headquarters, home to Snyder’s of Hanover, which makes one of every four pretzels sold in the U.S., as well as potato chip giant Utz. The district’s biggest city is York, the site of Harley-Davidson’s largest manufacturing plant, with about 2,500 employees. York is also home to the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame at the York Barbell Company. Many of its residents commute less than an hour to work in Baltimore and a few hardy souls commute to jobs in Washington D.C. With an 8% population increase from 2000 to 2007, York has been one of the fastest-growing large counties in the Northeast. The city also has a growing Hispanic population, mainly Puerto Rican. In Gettysburg, many Hispanics work the abundant orchards, which has led local farmers to advocate for increased immigration. Politically, the 19th is heavily Republican. President George W. Bush won 64% of the vote here in 2004, and Republican nominee John McCain won 56% in 2008.