Redistricting Politics

The Washington Post article, Virginia Republicans vent about McDonnell’s redistricting veto is a confusing read. In order to punish senate Democrats, the Republican governor vetoed a redistricting bill and got yelled at by house Republicans.

What happened, in my opinion, is that for the first time in three redistricting periods, the Virginia legislator has been politically split, with Republicans controlling the house and Democrats controlling the Senate. Although traditionally the redistricting plans were passed without hassle, Senate Democrats predicted that the Republican governor would play politics and pass the House redistricting plan while vetoing the Senate’s. To head that off, they combined both plans into one bill. And failed. Governor McDonnell vetoed the entire package.

Redistricting in Virginia is all about incumbents protecting their seats. All of the current maps and all of the proposed maps include some pretty outrageously shaped districts. Since the house just drew away four Democratic districts, including that of Ward Armstrong, I hardly think it’s fair for the governor to accuse the senate of being unfair.

In my opinion, what happened was that until now, the Virginia legislator had a bi-partisan gentleman’s agreement that redistricting is a sleazy business and it’s in the best interest of all of the incumbents to let the sleaze pass on by. That agreement held until a Republican governor decided to play politics with a Democratic senate.

I hope my writing whets the appetite of my small group of readers. But for more informed analysis, I recommend reading Project Virginia and following the links they have posted.