VA Senate Approves New Redistricting Plan

By: BOB LEWIS - AP Political Writer
By: BOB LEWIS - AP Political Writer

The state Senate has passed a new plan redrawing Virginia's legislative districts just in time to allow House and Senate primaries to proceed as scheduled in August.

With bipartisan support and by a veto-proof 32-5 vote, the Senate paired its own revised boundaries for its 40 districts with the House plan for its 100 districts approved earlier this week.

This after more than two days of negotiations between majority Democrats and Republicans.

The revised plan restores GOP Sens. Frank Wagner and Jeff McWaters to districts of their own. They had been paired in one.

But it would move Republican Sen. Fred Quayle's Suffolk-based district into fast-growing northern Virginia and puts him into the same district with Republican Sen. Harry Blevins of Chesapeake.

And, like the previous Democratic-drafted Senate plan, it locks Republican Sen. Ralph Smith of Roanoke in a district with Sen. Steve Newman of Lynchburg, creating an odd-man-out situation.

The 24th District, represented by Senator Emmett Hanger, will see some changes.

He will lose Highland, Rockbridge and Albemarle Counties, and gain Madison and parts of Culpeper Counties

"Obviously there are some differences in the communities of interest on the west side of the mountain here in the valley, versus the east side of the mountain along the 29 corridor," said Hanger. "But there are some common denominators as well, so I think that it will be a district that I can comfortably represent."

Highland County residents will now be part of the 25th District, represented by Creigh Deeds.

The plan advances to Gov. Bob McDonnell, who vetoed a previous
version of the legislative reapportionment bill two weeks ago.

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