Virginia redistricting is now expected to move forward, with the real possibility of significant changes to the states electoral landscape, says Virginia Tech’s Nick Goedert.
Goedert is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and is considered an authority on the topic of gerrymandering, redistricting and the impact on elections.
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Virginia Republicans’ request to stop the implementation of a new House of Delegates map for the 2019 elections, clearing the way for a lower court to redraw legislative maps prior to the fall elections.
· “The most significant change will be a significant increase in the number of districts in southeast Virginia in which 40%-50% of the population is African-American. Several of these will likely be Republican-held seats that the Democrats will now have a great chance to pick up in the 2019 election.”
· “Given that Republicans now control the Virginia House of Delegates by the narrowest of margins, even two or three such new opportunities could swing control of the legislature.”
· “It will also be interesting to see who runs in – and who wins – the Democratic primaries in these new African-American opportunity districts. That is, what sort of candidate will the Democrats choose in districts where the majority of the Democratic primary electorate is black, but the majority of the general electorate is white? This could have a significant impact on the overall make-up and diversity of the Democratic delegation in the legislature.”
The lower court wants to impose the new map by March 28. Virginia primaries are scheduled for June 11.
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