Here are two maps of Virginia I drew which are visual opposites. One is 7-4 in favor of Republicans with 3 majority minority districts for Dems with one in nova and the other two around Richmond and Hampton Roads, both of which are majority VAP black. The other is a ‘fair district’ map with compact districts designed to give the state a delegation more reflective of a purple state: 5 likely Dems after Frank Wolf retires, 5 likely Republicans, and 1 swing district. Since I don’t know as much about the political geography of Virginia as I do North Carolina this diary will be less extensive than the previous one.
VA-01 (Blue) Rob Wittman (R)
The 1st moves away from northern VA, westward, and loses some black voters to become a stronger R district.
VA-02 (Green) Scott Rigell (R)/ Randy Forbes (R)
The 2nd takes in Chesapeake and wraps west around Norfolk to create a solid R district, but pits both incumbents together, though Rigell would probably be favored since it contains most of the old 2nd.
VA-03 (Purple) Bobby Scott (D)
72.4% Obama 38.1% White/50.6% Black
The 3rd moves out of Richmond to become centered on Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Hampton, while becoming slightly less black and democratic.
VA-04 (Red) Open
68.9% Obama 41.5% White/50.4% Black
The 4th undergoes major changes to become a black majority district based on Richmond then extending its tentacles to draw in minority areas and giving Democrats a new fourth seat.
VA-05 (Yellow) Rob Hurt (R)
The 5th moves westward some while ceding minority voter territory to the 4th, which makes the district considerably more Republican.
VA-06 (Teal) Bob Goodlatte (R)
The 6th cedes some territory to the neighboring 5th and 9th to shore them up, but also moves Roanoke to the 9th so that it can take in some more Democratic friendly territory from the 11th in NOVA and allow the 10th to become more gop friendly. Although Goodlatte lives in Roanoke he still would represent a decent amount of his old district.
VA-07 (Gray) Eric Cantor (R)
Cantor’s district completely leaves the Shenandoah Valley to take in the remainder of Richmond and the surrounding area while in the process becoming a safer district for him.
VA-08 (Slate Blue) Jim Moran (D)
The 8th conforms more to the Potomac to allow the 11th to be majority minority, other than that there aren’t any significant political changes.
VA-09 (Cyan) Morgan Griffith (R)
The 9th pretty much just needed to gain population, but I also wanted the 6th to absorb territory from NOVA, so I gave the 9th Roanoke and Salem which made it more Democratic. However, it seems unlikely that Rick Boucher is itching for a rematch against Griffith, and even if he were, this district is still looking pretty favorable to Republicans.
Safe Republican vs. Generic D
Leans Republican vs. Rick Boucher
VA-10 (Magenta) Frank Wolf (R)
51.2% McCain, 54.5% R
The 10th pivots to sprawl out west from Fairfax County rather than northwest while becoming considerably more Republican in the process, though with a good candidate and environment Dems could win this seat. However, Frank Wolf would likely be heavily favored here until he retires.
Safe Republican with Frank Wolf
Likely Republican if open
VA-11 (Chartreuse) Gerry Connolly (D)
65.6% Obama 41% White/17.7% Black/23.6% Hispanic/15% Asian
Connolly’s district changes significantly to become majority minority and much more heavily Democratic, though I might have drawn out the part of Fairfax in which he lives. Regardless, Connolly or any other Dem should have no trouble winning here.
Republicans shore up the 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 10th. Democrats pick up the 4th and shore up the 11th.
This map takes a fairly divergent view of the VRA than does the first by allowing the 3rd to simply be majority minority even though it’s not majority black, which probably would not hold up in court, but regardless, this map is designed to have ‘compact’ districts and give each party 5 safe or likely seats with one swing seat.
Districts 01-Wittman, 05-Hurt, 06-Goodlatte, 07-Cantor, and 09-Griffith are all over 55% Republican and are designed to be safe Republican districts, or likely at worst. Cantor is the only Republican in the game of musical chairs who would have to relocate for his district since Richmond is now pretty Democratic.
Districts 03-Scott, 04-Open, 08-Moran, and 11-Connolly are all over 58% Obama districts and are pretty much safe for Dems. The 3rd is now 49.8% White. The 10th (Wolf-R) is a 55.7% Obama district and contains about half of Wolf’s current territory and gives him a new half which Obama won with about 61%, so this should prompt him to retire allowing Dems to gain the seat.
The 2nd-Rigell(R)/Forbes(R) is a swing/lean R district at 50.5% McCain, 53.2% Republican.
Summary: Dems have districts centered on Hampton Roads, Richmond, and 2-3 in DC suburbs/exurbs depending on how Dems defeat or force retirement on Frank Wolf. Republicans have 5 districts in the rural areas of the state. Virginia Beach is meant to be a competitive, slightly R leaning seat, so for the time being Scott Rigell would still probably hold it.
On a final note, the first map goes to show that it’s pretty difficult to draw and practically impossible for the DOJ to force Virginia to have 2 majority voting age black districts, but that it secures the partisan balance pretty well at 7-4. The second map is merely meant to be an opposite view from the first map in terms of compactness since it would be highly unlikely to be passed even as a compromise map and possibly violates the VRA concerning retrogression.