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Virginia legislative redistricting plan headed to McDonnell

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April 12, 2011

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By Tyler Millhouse

RICHMOND, Virginia: The Virginia House of Delegates has concurred with the legislative redistricting plan passed by the senate on April 7. The plan, which redraws the state's house and senate districts, will now proceed to Governor Bob McDonnell (R) for approval.[1] According to an agreement between legislative leadership, each chamber drew its own maps which reflect the partisan interests of their respective chamber.[2]

In the House of Delegates, Republicans eliminated a Democratic district in Norfolk and diluted local Democratic districts while strengthening Republican districts on the Peninsula. Notably the plan moves democratic districts into Northern Virginia and displaces several Democrats, including House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong (D).[3] Both maps have been sharply criticized by minority leadership.[4]

McDonnell, who must approve the legislative plan, created the Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission earlier in the year to be a bi-partisan influence on the process. While the commission has struggled to stay relevant, it remains to be seen whether McDonnel's disposition towards less partisan maps will compel him to reject the current plan and further extend the redistricting process.[5]

With primary elections scheduled for August 23, 2011, Virginia legislators are on a short timeline to complete the process and generate new maps for legislative candidates.

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