Virginia’s General Assembly met on Thursday for a special session to comply with a court order to redraw 11 House of Delegates districts. The map has been used since 2011, but now a judge says the lines are unconstitutional. With only a one seat majority to fight against House Democrats have proposed an inappropriate redistricting plan, introduced by Delegate Lamont Bagby, that is dead on arrival.
House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert spoke from the House floor Thursday explaining that of the over 100 problems the court has with the lines, the Democrats’ plan only addresses 29 of them. Gilbert mentioned how the lines help vulnerable Democrats with a better chance at winning re-election and make a few vulnerable Republicans more vulnerable to losing re-election. It’s a political power grab.
Delegate Steve Heretick, a Democrat from Portsmouth, agrees. On the floor he said, “It’s a self-serving political power grab. It’s gerrymandering in response to gerrymandering. It’s tit for tat.”
The Democrats’ plan even draws two Republicans into the same district while keeping a few Democrats who live within a mile apart from each other in separate districts. Coincidence? Yeah, ok.
Delegate Steve Landes, a Republican on the Privileges and Elections Committee, tweeted that the Democrats’ plan, “is not ready for prime time.”
All redistricting is gerrymandering because the legislature gets to draw their own maps. The question is how much gerrymandering is too much gerrymandering? House Democrats have given us that answer by submitting their ridiculous proposal. This will take some time to sort out. Stay tuned.