Senate Democratic and Republican negotiators have reached a tentative deal on a new map for Senate legislative districts.
Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Fauquier County, one of the negotiators,cautioned that the deal still could blow up and that Senate Democratic and Republican caucuses are being briefed this afternoon. A meeting of the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee has tentatively been scheduled for Thursday morning and the full Senate could vote as early as Thursday.
Under the deal, the proposed new Democratic-leaning district in the Richmond area would be eliminated, according to Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan. Republicans would lose one of two senators in Virginia Beach and new districts would be created in Loudoun County and east of Lynchburg.
So, after all this anti-progressive/anti-environment bully’s blustering about how he wouldn’t change a comma in the redistricting plan, blah blah blah, he basically just accomplished the following (h/t to my General Assembly sources for this):
*Sacrifices the new Democratic-leaning district around Richmond.
*Ensured that Democrats have no room for growth in the Senate, that we might (barely) hold our 22 seats but nothing else.
*Guaranteed that the caucus has no chance of becoming mroe progressive.
*Created two new “R”-leaning districts.
And why did Dick cave, after all his bluster about not changing a comma? What I’m hearing from multiple sources is that the legal advisers to Dick Saslaw apparently changed their mind, suddenly deciding that the courts were more of a problem than they had thought. So, they advised Saslaw to avoid that route at (almost) all costs. Hence, the indefensible debacle you see before you. Oh, and just to put the icing on the cake, who comes out smelling good in all this? That’s right, Bob McDonnell. Who comes out getting BOTH the policy AND the politics wrong? That’s right, Dick Saslaw and Company. Heckuva job, guys!
P.S. Any reason we should be surprised at the incredibly weak candidate they’re trying to foist on us here in the 31st district? Nope, didn’t think so.
UPDATE: I could go on for hours in the “hate to say we told you so” vein, but for now I’ll just say, did Paul Goldman nail this or what?!?