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Proposed Senate Districts: Unbelievable

By Greg L | 29 March 2011 | Virginia Senate | 24 Comments

The Virginian-Pilot has put up some Google maps of the proposed Senate districts (amazing what can be done when you’re not relying on Microsoft technology) and wow, are they absolutely incredible.  Not one of the districts in Northern Virginia approach anything resembling sanity — each one of them is a long, snaking mess that is so baldly gerrymandered the boldness of them is utterly stunning.  Some of these more resemble a maze or pieces to a very difficult puzzle rather than legislative districts.

If the House or Governor approve this disaster I am not going to be happy.  At all.  These proposed districts are a bold insult to democracy and fairness and if we are forced to litigate against them as citizens because our legislators and governor failed us, a lot of people are going to be very upset.



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24 Comments

  1. Charles said on 29 Mar 2011 at 10:36 pm:
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    Wow. I can’t wait until someone reverse-engineers those maps to show how many democratic seats the democrats in the Senate were trying to steal with those maps.

    I thought the house districts were a little goofy, and obviously worked to keep incumbents in their districts; but nothing could rationally explain the senate districts.

  2. Greg L said on 29 Mar 2011 at 10:56 pm:
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    PWC Precincts by District, as proposed in Janet Howell’s bill:

    22nd District
    Alvey
    Battlefield
    Bristow Run
    Bull Run
    Evergreen
    Glenkirk
    Limestone
    Mountain View
    Mullen
    Pace West
    and parts of the following precincts:
    Buckland Mills
    Marsteller
    Sinclair
    Sudley North
    Victory

    28th District
    Brentsville
    Marshall
    Park
    and portions of the following:
    Bennett
    Benton
    Buckland Mills
    Cedar Point
    Nokesville
    Woodbine

    29th District
    Manassas City
    Manassas Park City
    Bel Air
    Beville
    Buckhall
    Civic Center
    Dale
    Ellis
    Enterprise
    Freedom
    Godwin
    Kerrydale
    King
    Library
    Neabsco
    Potomac
    Pr. William A (new precint)
    Saunders
    Stonewall
    Westgate
    and parts of the following:
    Bennett
    Benton
    Buckland Mills
    Cedar Point
    Featherstone
    Lodge
    Lynn
    Marsteller
    Minnieville
    Nokesville
    Occoquan
    Parkside
    Penn
    Rippon
    River Oaks
    Sinclair
    Sudley North
    Swans Creek
    Victory
    Woodbine

    36th District
    Ashland
    Belmont
    Bethel
    Chinn
    Dumfries
    Forest Park
    Graham Park
    Henderson
    Kilby
    Montclair
    Pattie
    Potomac View
    Powell
    Quantico
    Washington-Reid
    and parts of the following precincts:
    Featherstone
    Lodge
    Lynn
    Minnieville
    Occoquan
    Rippon
    River Oaks
    Swans Creek

    39th District
    Lake Ridge
    McCoart
    Mohican
    Old Bridge
    Rockledge
    Signal Hill
    Springwoods
    Westridge
    and parts of the following precincts:
    Benton
    Parkside
    Penn

    Notice all the precinct splits? How in the heck are poll workers supposed to manage so many split precincts? The logistical nightmare here to ensure people within the same precinct are voting in the correct Senate district will be tremendous.

    For full info look here.

  3. Steve Thomas said on 30 Mar 2011 at 7:56 am:
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    If the 29th remains as proposed, how does this impact a potential GOP nominations contest?

  4. Ronald said on 30 Mar 2011 at 10:17 am:
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    We need to come up with a true process for non-partisan redistricting. These are just silly.

  5. Cromagnum said on 30 Mar 2011 at 12:55 pm:
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    I saw a copy of the map… geesh, you have to zoom way out just to see the districts
    http://hamptonroads.com/2011/03/virginia-redistricting-proposed-maps

    The Winchester (etc) district now snakes down to almost Fredericksburg?

    The District just West of Manassas crosses 95 and then goes halfway to Newport News?

    Looks like they are placing a few conservative areas into this large landmass, and consolidated small liberal bastions.

  6. Harry said on 30 Mar 2011 at 2:00 pm:
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    Another mess, hard to say if the senate or the house districts are more screwed up.

  7. Forward Observer said on 30 Mar 2011 at 2:18 pm:
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    Bob Fitzsimmonds has been exiled

  8. Anonymous said on 30 Mar 2011 at 3:32 pm:
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    Bob Fitzsimmonds has just been handed a hard-core R district. It is his to lose.

    No aother good potential challengers live in the district other than possibly John Stirrup.

  9. Anonymous said on 30 Mar 2011 at 3:33 pm:
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    Jackson Miller really wanted Gainesville and Haymarket. Anyone think he will move into the 22nd to take on Fitzsimmonds?

  10. Isophorone said on 30 Mar 2011 at 5:23 pm:
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    Just curious, if the Republicans hold the House of Delegates and re-take the Senate, can they re-redistrict?

  11. Forward Observer said on 30 Mar 2011 at 5:25 pm:
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    Isn’t the new VA Senate district “heavier in Fauquier and Loudoun? Why is this “Fitzsimmond’s to lose”. Saslaw isn’t going to give Fitz an open district on a silver platter.

  12. Disgusted said on 30 Mar 2011 at 6:17 pm:
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    Split districts are already here. I vote in the Rippon precinct which is split between the 1st & 11th US Congressional district.

  13. Back Bencher said on 30 Mar 2011 at 6:33 pm:
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    The 22nd already has a hard-core conservative so, if Bob FitzSimmonds takes it is a wash from Saslaw’s perspective.

    Will Jackson man up and run in the new 29th even if Colgan is still running? That seat is drawn to keep a Dem in there but there is only one Dem who can keep it.

  14. timeforachange said on 30 Mar 2011 at 6:56 pm:
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    Fitzsimmonds has run for the 29th no less than 4 times, that is close to 16 years of trying and failing against an opponent who does not campaign. The new 22nd needs a fresh voice. Hopefully another viable candidate shows up in the next few weeks. The Dems are going to try to win this one, even if the stats are against them.

  15. Think about it! said on 30 Mar 2011 at 7:35 pm:
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    FitzSimmonds ran and lost twice in the general election to an incumbent that has ruled since 1975. 1975! I don’t know many bookies that would give any challenger a good line with those numbers. Do you think Bob didn’t know those odds himself? That’s what makes him so great. Who has ever run a successful campaign against Colgan? No one–that’s the point. So why do people say that Bob is unelectable? I’m not saying Colgan can’t be beat, on the contrary, I think there is a very good reason Colgan had Bob placed just over the district line.

  16. Franco said on 30 Mar 2011 at 9:17 pm:
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    Miller has said he won’t move.

    Colgan won’t run now that Fitz is gone from his Dist. and an acceptable R such as Miller is his likely successor.

    Say hello to Sens. Miller AND FitzSimmonds!

  17. Greg L said on 30 Mar 2011 at 11:25 pm:
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    “Virginia Senate redistricting plan designed to invite litigation” at Northern Virginia Lawyer is a very informative read on this subject:

    http://northernvirginialawyer.blogspot.com/2011/03/virginia-senate-redistricting-plan.html

  18. Forward Observer said on 31 Mar 2011 at 9:24 am:
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    The “new” 22nd VA Senate district includes 110,400 people in Loudoun Co., 73,400 people in PWC, 24,300 people in Fauguier Co., and 4,200 people in Clarke Co. The sheer numbers don’t make this a Fitz seat. Who are the likely Dem. candidates given the geography?

  19. Riley said on 31 Mar 2011 at 12:52 pm:
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    You’re assuming there ARE any viable Dems in that territory, F.O.

  20. Anonymous said on 31 Mar 2011 at 2:28 pm:
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    Who wins if Dick Black moves into the the 22nd and runs against Fitsimmonds?

    I hear this might happen.

  21. timeforachange said on 31 Mar 2011 at 3:37 pm:
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    Neither if that scenario unfolds, they would split the hard right vote in the primary letting a possible third candidate through to the general.

  22. Anonymous said on 31 Mar 2011 at 4:25 pm:
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    So these guys who move arounf are doing it to represent the people and not simply to just get elected?

  23. Loudoun Insider said on 31 Mar 2011 at 5:04 pm:
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    The Loudoun portion contains Stevens MIller’s house that he moved from and still owns when he moved to Sterling to take on Tom Rust. Miller has announced that he won’t seek re-election to the Loudoun BOS but wanted to look at State Senate. He’s the likely Dem for this seat. Dick Black lives northeast of this district, but his new home district goes all the way to Arlington, so it’s very unlikely he will run in that district. His current State Senate headquarters address is a UPS Store box in Brambleton in or very near this new 22nd District. He’s already moved before to try to gain higher office (failed run for 1st CD nomination) so I would bet he’ll be moving in. Watching him and FitzSimmonds try to out-conservative each other will be interesting.

  24. Anonymous said on 1 Apr 2011 at 8:11 am:
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    NOT an April Fool’s Joke:

    BLACK LAWMAKERS SUE TO DISSOLVE CITIES THAT ARE TOO ‘WHITE’…

    The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus filed a lawsuit Monday against the state of Georgia seeking to dissolve the city charters of Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Milton and Chattahoochee Hills. Further, the lawmakers, joined by civil rights leader the Rev. Joseph Lowery, aim to dash any hopes of a Milton County.

    The lawsuit, filed in a North Georgia U.S. District Court Monday, claims that the state circumvented the normal legislative process and set aside its own criteria when creating the “super-majority white ” cities within Fulton and DeKalb counties. The result, it argues, is to dilute minority votes in those areas, violating the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution.

    “This suit is based on the idea that African Americans and other minorities can elect the people of their choice,” said Democratic State Sen. Vincent Fort.

    The Office of the Governor and the Office of the Attorney General declined comment pending further review of the case.

    Rep. Lynne Riley, R-Johns Creek, called the lawsuit “frivolous” and “disrespectful to the citizens of these cities who are most satisfied with their government.”

    Riley was active in creating Sandy Springs and the subsequent cities while serving as a Fulton County commissioner.

    “These jurisdictions were based on geography and nothing else,” she said. “We haven’t seen any evidence of any disadvantage based on the creation of new cities. We’ve watched the Fulton County budget continue to grow … to say there was damage done by this creation, there are no facts to support that, and I would reject it.”

    Lead attorney Jerome Lee, of Taylor Lee & Associates, said the suit is novel.

    “The Voting Rights Act forbids a state from doing anything that affects the voting rights of minorities, except with a permissible purpose,” he said, citing the redistricting that takes place when the census documents population shifts. “In this case, it’s different because the state actually went outside the normal redistricting process and created these cities that have no meaningful state purpose.”

    According to the 2010 census, Fulton County is 44.5 percent white and 44.1 percent black. About 54 percent of DeKalb County residents are black, and 33.3 percent are white.

    Sandy Springs, created in 2005, is 65 percent white and 20 percent black. Milton, formed a year later, is 76.6 percent white and 9 percent black. Johns Creek, also formed that year, is 63.5 percent white and 9.2 percent black. Chattahoochee Hills, formed in 2007, is 68.6 percent white and 28 percent black, while Dunwoody, created in 2008, is 69.8 percent white and 12.6 percent black.

    Emory University law professor Michael Kang said the case is unique because the Voting Rights Act focuses on redistricting, whereas this lawsuit challenges the legality of cities. Kang, who has not reviewed the case in its entirety, said the plaintiffs will likely have to show evidence of discriminatory purpose to have a strong claim. Kane said the case has interesting implications.

    “If we look at this realistically, there is some white flight going on. The creation of these Sandy Springs-type cities enables white voters to get away from black voters,” he said. “It does strike me that the Voting Rights Act might have something to say about this, but it’s unknown what the courts will say about it.”

    Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker had not reviewed the suit, but he said he doesn’t believe it has merit.

    “This discussion was debated even back then [when the city was formed], and it failed to pass muster back then, so I don’t know why it would be different today,” he said. “It seems the clock has run on this issue.”

    Lee expressed hope that the involved parties could work out a compromise outside of dissolution of the cities.

    “There is a fundamental issue here that needs to really be addressed. I don’t know who the person is to forge the path forward. In theory it’s our governor and commander in chief, but I don’t know if anyone is willing to risk the political capital necessary to sit down and hammer out a solution on this,” Lee said.

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/black-ga-legislators-sue-to-dissolve-super-majority-white-cities/

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