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Another Minority District in VA?


by Curtis D. Young



I wholeheartedly accept the idea of having more minorities in the U.S House of Representatives, but I am somewhat skeptical of Senate Bill 5004 presented by Sen. Mamie Locke.

With redistricting going on around the country, Senator Locke believes Virginia has an opportunity to create another minority district. Of course her plan, if passed, would have to be scrutinized by the Department of Justice (DOJ) due to the Voter Rights Act of 1965. This act requires states with a history of discriminatory practices, relating to voting, to clear all changes to electoral maps with DOJ. Virginia, not surprisingly is one of those states.

Sen. Locke’s plan would bring the black population in the 3rd Congressional District currently represented by Robert C. “Bobby” Scott to 44.6% and the 4th Congressional District, currently held by Randy Forbes to 53.5%. Most people supporting this bill are probably dazzled by the possible increase of minority representation for Virginia, however, there isn’t any guarantee.

I have seen in far too many cases, the crowded primary. You know, when three minority candidates run and eventually dilute their own communities voting strength. They fight against each other and in the end they all loose. This could obviously happen in primaries across the board but is more likely to be an issue in majority minority districts, as such. I strongly believe in the “may the best man win” concept but we must be careful. Congressman Bobby Scott could certainly win in a district that is only 44.6% minority, however, he won’t be in office forever. He is already considering a run for the U.S. Senate.

Either way, I guess it doesn’t hurt to try. It seems like the DOJ would support the idea. My prediction, if the bill passes in the Senate later this month, is that Mamie Locke would run for Congress in the 3rd provided Congressman Scott seeks a U.S. Senate seat and Dwight Jones would run in the 4th. Shall we break out the brackets for the 2012 House races?


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