A court-appointed “special master” has finished drawing new legislative maps meant to address racial gerrymandering in 11 House districts in the Richmond and Hampton Roads metropolitan areas. The decision by the federal court of the Eastern District of Virginia has led to the possibility that two of the most powerful Republicans in the House of Delegates may face much tougher campaigns in the 2019 election cycle if they are adopted by the Commonwealth.
The results were put together by the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) using data from the 2012 election to show whether districts would become more Democratic or Republican.
The 76th House District currently held by House Appropriations Chairman Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) would lean 27.4 points more to the liberal side. On the Democratic side, it takes Delegates Cliff Hayes (D-Chesapeake) in the 77th House District 28.4 points further to the right, and Delegate Joe Lindsey’s (D-Norfolk) 90th House District 20.5 points in the same direction towards GOP-leaning in the “Hampton Roads B” plan from the special master.
Speaker of the House of Delegates Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) who represents the 66th House District would face a switch in his district 22.6 points more towards the Democratic side. In the nearby 63rd House District with Delegate Lashrecse Aird (D-Petersburg), it would shift 17.8 more to the right in the “Petersburg 1A” plan.
The “Richmond 1B” plan would shift Delegate Delores McQuinn’s (D-Henrico) 70th House District 14.9 points to the right.
In the “Peninsula 1” plan, the 91st House district held by Delegate Gordon Helsel (R-Poquoson) would be shifted 19.8 points to the left, with Delegate Cia Price’s (D-Newport News) 95th House District being placed 14.7 points more to the right.
The 2018 House Democratic Plan would also move the 79th House District currently represented by Delegate Stephen Heretick (D-Portsmouth) points more to the right and the 62nd House District which is held by the retiring Delegate Riley Ingram (R-Prince George) 12.4 points to the left.
The 2018 House Republican Plan would move Delegate Lamont Bagby’s (D-Richmond) 74th House District 22.3 points towards the GOP.
A plan was also developed around Delegate Jones, which shows the least amount of disparagement between the current political demographics of the areas.
Republicans have appealed the verdict from the lower court to the Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments in the Spring. Speaker Cox had petitioned the Eastern District Virginia to stay the decision and move back the 2019 House primaries, but was denied.