Virginia’s two Democratic U.S. senators urged the state’s Supreme Court to reject proposed changes to the state’s congressional map, claiming that the changes would make it more difficult for three incumbent Democratic lawmakers to be reelected.
The Dec. 20 letter from the two male senators emphasizes that all three of their electorally endangered colleagues are female, and it comes after the Virginia Supreme Court appointed two special masters. The court appointed RealClearPolitics senior elections analyst Sean Trende and University of California–Irvine political science professor Bernard Grofman to redraw Virginia’s electoral maps after an independent state commission deadlocked over a redistricting plan, as The Epoch Times previously reported.
Trende, who was nominated by Republican lawmakers, and Grofman, who was nominated by Democratic lawmakers, unveiled their proposed maps on Dec. 7 in a memorandum to the court. There’s a new map for the Virginia House of Delegates, one for the Senate of Virginia, and one for Virginia’s representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives.
“These maps reflect a true joint effort on our part,” the two men said in the memo. “We agreed on almost all issues initially, and the few issues on which we initially disagreed were resolved by amicable discussion. When drawing these maps, we have worked diligently to craft maps that comply with the statutory and constitutional provisions enumerated by this Court.”
The proposed congressional map “still gives Democrats an edge,” according to a Washington Post analysis.
The redrawn federal map of Virginia “makes some changes to each of Virginia’s eleven Congressional Districts,” but “the most impactful geographic changes occur in the three districts currently represented by women,” Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine wrote in their letter to the court.
Those female U.S. House members are Elaine Luria in the 2nd Congressional District (Norfolk, Virginia Beach), Abigail Spanberger in the 7th District (Culpeper, Richmond suburbs), and Jennifer Wexton in the 10th District (Dulles, Purcellville).
“While the intention of the proposed map was to balance a number of competing considerations to create fairer maps, the result instead places the heavy weight of change on the three women in the delegation,” the senators wrote.
Although the map makes some changes to each of the state’s congressional districts, “the most impactful geographic changes occur in the three districts currently represented by women,” the letter states.
“The women representing Virginia’s second and seventh districts would no longer live in the districts that they have now been elected twice to represent under these proposed maps. Additionally, Virginia’s tenth district–also represented by a woman–was significantly redrawn.”
The Washington Post article noted that the proposed federal map would move Spanberger’s 7th District, which includes all of the counties of Prince William and Stafford, almost 50 miles away, and make it “much safer for Democrats.”
It’s unclear when the Virginia Supreme Court will make a decision on the various proposed electoral maps.
In the U.S. Congress, Virginia is currently represented in the Senate by two Democrats and in the House by seven Democrats and four Republicans. In the 2020 presidential election, Democrat Joe Biden nabbed the state’s 13 electoral votes, beating incumbent Republican Donald Trump 54.1 percent to 44 percent, according to official results.
In the Nov. 2, 2021, election, Republicans wrested control of the offices of Virginia governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general from Democrats. While the GOP also regained control of the Virginia House of Delegates, the Senate, which wasn’t up for election in 2021, remains under the control of Democrats.