Delegate Rob Bell filed the Republican redistricting plan today. A federal court ordered the General Assembly to draw new lines, even though the current map was approved by both Republicans and Democrats and has been used since 2011. But now a judge feels that racial gerrymandering was too much gerrymandering, so new lines need to be drawn.
Democrats filed an earlier plan House Republicans called “not ready for prime time.”
Here is the press release from House Speaker Kirk Cox announcing the new plan-
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2018
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox announced on Tuesday that Delegate Rob Bell has filed a politically-neutral, race-blind remedial redistricting map as House Bill 7002. The map, drawn without the use of any racial data, remedies the constitutional deficiencies, both general and specific, identified by the Eastern District of Virginia by altering 30 House districts, including the 11 challenged districts. The map, supporting files, demographic data, and election data are available on the DLS website here.
“While we maintain the constitutionality of the bipartisan plan adopted in 2011 and will continue to pursue our appeal to the Supreme Court, we are introducing a map today to demonstrate to the District Court and the public that you can, in fact, draw a politically-neutral, race-blind remedial map,” said Speaker Kirk Cox. “This is a map that complies with the court order broadly and specifically and adheres to traditional redistricting criteria without combining any currently-elected Delegates and without significantly altering the partisan makeup of any competitive House district.”
Cox added, “We will continue to engage in a good-faith effort with our Democratic colleagues on a remedial plan that can garner bipartisan support on the floor of the House of Delegates. We have laid out reasonable criteria and are willing to work on this map or a different one, but this map demonstrates clearly what is possible. If Democrats are serious, they’ll come to the table and engage in good-faith discussions. If they don’t, then it will be clear that they are only interested in a self-serving map to bolster their political standing, whether it’s obtained through the legislative or judicial process.”
Highlights of House Bill 7002
- Narrow map that seeks to address the deficiencies identified by the Court without making unnecessary changes
- Changes 30 House Districts, including the 11 challenged districts; Does not change any non-adjacent districts
- Does not combine any currently-elected House members
- Does not significantly alter the partisan makeup of any competitive House district, using either Gillespie and Romney numbers;
- The five competitive seats held by Republicans become .9% more Republican using 2017 results or .38% more Republican using 2012 results
- The four competitive seats held by Democrats become 1.4% more Democratic using 2017 results or 1.3% more Democratic using 2012 results
Here is a link to an insightful breakdown of the new plan.