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Virginia Politics
Posted at 04:37 PM ET, 04/27/2011

General Assembly delays work to accommodate fundraiser

While a handful of Senate negotiators continue to wrestle with new state legislative maps, the General Assembly will take a break from meeting to allow Senate Republicans to attend a caucus fundraiser Wednesday night with Gov. Bob McDonnell.

McDonnell (R) will headline the fundraiser at the Richmond home of Richard Cullen, chairman of McGuire Woods law firm.

All 18 Republican senators were expected to attend, but a spokesman for the GOP caucus, Jeff Ryer, said that if negotiations are taking place at the time of the fundraiser, then negotiators — Sens. Jill Vogel, John Watkins and Ryan McDougle — would not attend.

Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said he is not the least bit annoyed by any disruption the Republican fundraiser may be causing.

But the timing sure isn’t winning Senate Republicans any friends with House Republicans, already smarting from McDonnell’s veto of the first redistricting bill, which favored Senate Republicans.

The House isn’t returning until 7 p.m. Wednesday — after the fundraiser — so it can try to finish its negotiations over judicial selections with the Senate.

On Wednesday afternoon, the House voted 80 to 9 for a redrawn map of its 100 districts.

The House and Senate this month approved maps that reflect population shifts based on the 2010 Census, as they are required to do every decade after the national survey.

The House approved the plan in an 86 to 8 vote, with most Democrats voting in favor. The Senate adopted the bill on a straight party-line vote of 22 to 18.

McDonnell vetoed the bill, saying legislators had sent him maps that split too many counties, cities and towns and might violate state and federal laws.

McDonnell met with Senate Democratic negotiators — Sens. Saslaw, Janet Howell, George Barker and Donald McEachin — Wednesday morning. He has been speaking to Senate Republican negotiators by phone. Legislators have been working round-the-clock since Monday.

“It’s moving in the right direction,’’ Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said.

By  |  04:37 PM ET, 04/27/2011

 
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