Virginia Gov. John N. Dalton told his state's congressional delegation yesterday that he is likely to ask the General Assembly to make changes in its proposed congressional redistricting plan -- a proposal that Dalton said gives Democrats too many advantages.
The Republican governor, emerging from a one-hour, closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill, added that no matter what shape the final plan takes, he expects it will be challenged in the courts.
"I see some problems," said Dalton, explaining that he is troubled by the 2.5 percent population disparity between the proposed districts that cover the Richmond and Portsmouth areas.
Dalton said he doubted that such a variance would be permitted to stand under guidelines set by the Supreme Court in its one man-one vote edict.
The governor said that while he left redrawing of the lines on the basis of the 1980 Census to the legislature, which Democrats control by a 3-1 margin, he probably will urge amendments to the plan rather than sign the bill that was approved in Richmond last Friday.
If Dalton rejects the bill, his amendments could be considered by the Assembly at a special June 3 meeting in Charlottesville.
In Northern Virginia's 8th District, Dalton said "there is no question they tried to draw the lines to pick up the precincts" in which defeated Democratic Rep. Herbert E. Harris fared better than the new Republican member, Stanford E. Parris.
"We all understand what they were doing," Dalton said. There was no reason to cut Stafford County in two. It could have remained in one district. That line did not have to be drawn."
Parris, who remained in the meeting longer than any of the other congressmen, said he made no specific request of Dalton to try to change the boundaries of his district.
"But we both agreed," Parris said, "that we are concerned about the principle of cutting three jurisdictions [Fairfax, Prince William, and Stafford counties] in half when you don't have to."