Republican leaders of Virginia General Assembly on Tuesday rebuffed an effort by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to strike a deal on the state’s congressional elections map before a court-imposed deadline. According to a June ruling, the General Assembly has until Sept. 1 to redraw congressional district boundaries, which the court said illegally pack African Americans into a single district to dilute their influence elsewhere. On Tuesday, McAuliffe (D) sent a letter to House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment (R-James City) requesting a meeting “to forge compromise on a plan that is agreeable to the General Assembly and can be reviewed quickly by the public and our congressional colleagues.”
McAuliffe has talked about calling a special session on redistricting for Aug. 17, but said hashing out a deal early would minimize taxpayer expense and shine light on the map before it goes to a vote. Howell and Norment quickly rejected the idea.
In a statement, Howell said meeting early would rob lawmakers of the ability to participate in the process from the start. He said he also prefers to wait for a court ruling on his request for an extension on the Sept. 1 deadline, to allow time for an appeal to play out.