Gov. Ralph Northam warned Tuesday he would veto a redistricting plan that Republicans in Virginia’s House of Delegates hope to approve this month. The lawmakers are set to consider new legislative boundaries in response to a federal court’s ruling that 11 House of Delegates districts were racially gerrymandered. House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) said earlier Tuesday that he would summon lawmakers on Oct. 21 to take up a plan passed out of committee on a party-line vote last week. If the legislature fails to act by Oct. 30, judges at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia will handle the redistricting themselves.
… All 100 seats in the House are up for election next year, and control of the chamber hangs in the balance. Republican lawmakers, who have a 51-to-49 advantage in the House, brushed off the Democratic redistricting plan and eventually produced one of their own. Democrats called it a partisan scheme, and the legislature appeared deadlocked.
Last week, Del. S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) delivered a redistricting plan that included input from a handful of Democratic legislators in Hampton Roads. The House Privileges and Elections Committee approved that plan last week — but on a party-line vote, 11 to 10.