On Tuesday, the redistricting maps were released showing the proposals from the Senate Democratic Caucus (the Howell plan) and the Republican plan (the Watkins plan). The House proposal (Del. Chris Jones’ plan) would basically move House District 2, which is currently represented by Del. Bud Phillips in Southwest Virginia, to Prince William and Stafford Counties. The new District 2 is more conservative leaning, and it would be a perfect fit for Jim Riley, who was considering running for a seat on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. Could we be hearing Del. Riley in the future? The plan would also move District 10 from Southside Virginia to Clarke/Frederick/Loudoun Counties, and this would eliminate Del. Ward Armstrong (D-Statewide)’s seat, and Del. Paula Miller’s seat in District 87 in Virginia Beach to Loudoun and Prince William Counties. The suburbs in Northern Virginia are growing, and this will explain the shifting of the House seats.
However, the State Senate Boundaries are a disaster. The Howell plan, created by my state senator, Janet Howell, is drawn to protect incumbents and create primary challenges for two GOP seats. Virginia Beach, which is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the Commonwealth, will be losing a seat, and will be forcing Sens. Jeffrey McWaters and Frank Wagner into the same district. Why would Virginia Beach need to lose a seat? Something really doesn’t make sense here. Additionally, two state senators in the Roanoke area, Steve Newman and Ralph Smith, would be placed in the same district. If that sounds bad, the district lines have changed here in Northern Virginia. Senate District 31, which was retiring Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple’s district, will spread from Arlington, cover most of the Dranesville District, and go out as far west as the Northern part of Sterling. This seat could be very competitive.
The Watkins plan, created by Sen. John Watkins, would keep the districts basically the same as they are now.
There will be public hearings tomorrow and Saturday to address the redistricting plans before Monday’s General Assembly session.
Below are the maps: