Right now, little is more important to the leadership of the Pennsylvania House and Senate than redistricting.
With the campaign season already beginning to bud in some of the state's congressional districts, time is of the essence for the party in power (the GOP, in case you hadn't heard) to figure out a plan that reduces the state's congressional delegation by one, while at the same easing the re-election of its faithful, or even making the political terrain beneficial for an additional Republican congressman.
It's no secret that the party controlling the House and Senate, as well as the governor's mansion, is determined to get a GOP-friendly plan on the governor's desk not just to beat the Jan. 24 official start for circulating election petitions, but to rush it through before the General Assembly goes home to mistletoe in a few days.
"In a drop-dead scenario, that's it," said Senate State Government Committee Chairman Charles McIlhinney, a Republican from Bucks County.
Don't get the idea that flirting with gerrymandering is an exclusive occupation of Republicans. Were the Democratic Party in the same catbird seat at the decennial cusp, we're sure they would be doing the same.
The real trick is to reduce Democrats' chances of winning without harming their own candidates.
One map distributed last week and shown to The Associated Press would pave the way for a Republican challenger to win, but doing so could weaken neighboring Republican incumbents Tim Murphy and Mike Kelly, some Republicans say.
"From the very beginning, our goal as Republicans was to strengthen the 12 congressional seats that we have and this map does not accomplish that goal," Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said.
More work to be done, and not much time to do it.