Virginia Republicans secure an 8-to-3 congressional district map
By Aaron Blake,
Republicans enjoyed one of the fruits of their 2011 state legislative victories on Friday, when the new GOP-controlled Virginia state Senate passed a congressional redistricting map that should help Republicans hold on to eight of the state’s 11 districts for the next decade.
The map is the same one that the Republican-controlled state House had already passed, but with Democrats still controlling the state Senate, the two chambers were unable to reach an agreement last year.
The new map passed in the state Senate on Friday by a 20-19 vote and will now go to Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) for his signature. The chamber is technically tied 20-20 (with the GOP lieutenant governor breaking ties), but one Democrat was not present.
The map makes relatively few partisan changes to the map, but the ones it does make will matter in the coming elections.
According to performance numbers obtained by The Fix, Rep. Frank Wolf’s (R-Va.) dicey Northern Virginia 10th district gets about three points safer for Republicans, moving from a district that went 53 percent for President Obama in 2008 to one that would have been essentially a draw between Obama and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Republicans also shored up Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) by a point or two, giving him a district that McCain would have won with 51 percent.
Neither Wolf nor Forbes is a top Democratic target, but both men’s seats would be at risk if they were to retire.
Republicans have a few more immediate concerns when it comes to freshman Reps. Scott Rigell (R) and Robert Hurt (R), who won Democratic-held seats in the 2010 election. But they could only do so much to help them, moving their districts about a half-point in the GOP’s favor. Both should still be favored for reelection, though their districts, like Wolf’s and Forbes’s, will not be slam dunks for the GOP.
To help Wolf out, Republicans also had to shore up Northern Virginia Democrat Gerry Connolly, an erstwhile GOP target who won a longtime GOP-held seat in 2008.
Connolly’s district, which went for President Bush in 2004, became about five points better for Democrats and shouldn’t be at risk anytime soon.