Now that the General Assembly punted on re-doing the map of Virginia’s Congressional districts, the efforts of federal judges to fix matters looks likely to boost Democrats’ hopes for a larger share of the state’s 11 member delegation in the House of Representatives, says Kyle Kondik, of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. How, though, is the question. A panel of U.S. District Court judges has ruled that the General Assembly had packed too many minority voters into the Norfolk-to-Richmond district that sends Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Newport News, to Congress. It told the General Assembly to redo the map by Sept. 1, but that ain’t happening. Kondik thinks if the judges draw a new map, they’d mostly likely move some African American voters into the districts represented by Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Virginia Beach, or Rep Randy Forbes, R-Chesapeake. That could make both those districts more competitive.
On the other hand, Kondik thinks that if General Assembly drew the map in its brief special session this month, so that Republicans got their druthers about who to sacrifice, the picture would be different.
He thinks they would have moved minority voters into the district Rep. Dave Brat, R-Henrico, represents, beacuse Brat’s upset of then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R) last year did not win Brat a ton of new friends in the GOP establishment. Still, the best way to make friends in Virginia politics is to win. And Brat did.