Gov. McDonnell to Veto Senate, House Redistricting Plans

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    What’s this all about exactly?

    *”PilotOnPolitics Sources expect @bobmcdonnell to veto legislative redistricting bill. Announcement possible today. No comment from governor’s office.”

    Also, the Examiner’s David Sherfinski tweets, “Gov. McDonnell plans to veto the General Assembly’s redistricting plan, a source has confirmed.

    I’m trying to figure out why McDonnell would veto these plans, not just amend them (perhaps with the recommendations of his own, bipartisan redistricting commission?) and send them back to the General Assembly. I’m also wondering if the House or Senate will override McDonnell’s veto, and if not, what does THAT mean? One possibility, I suppose, would be that elections would be held this year under current district lines, then again next year (a presidential election year) under new lines. Is this actually possible? I doubt it, but I’d say the chances just went from zero to…I don’t know, but a positive number.

    UPDATE: The Washington Post reports, “Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) vetoed a bill Friday afternoon that would have drawn new state legislative boundaries in Virginia for the next decade, saying he believes it violates state and federal law.”

    UPDATE #2: Here’s a link to Bob McDonnell’s letter explaining his reasoning. According to McDonnell, he has major issues with the Senate plan in particular: 1) lines “are not compact” as “required in the Constitution of Virginia” and “do not properly preserve locality lines and communities of interest;” 2) “the Senate plan may violate the one person-one vote ideal embodied in the United States and Virginia Constitutions”; 3) the Senate plan “is the kind of partisan gerrymandering that Virginians have asked that we leave in the past.”

    So now what? At the minimum, it appears that the Senate’s going to have to negotiate – big time. What a mess.

    UPDATE #3: Dick Saslaw responds, accuses McDonnell of “playing politics” and vows the Senate Democrats won’t “surrender.” The problem is, politically, McDonnell could come across as the “knight in shining armor” – standing up for democracy, freedom, the Virginia/American way, blah blah blah – on this one, even though that’s utterly ridiculous of course. We’ll see how this plays out politically. Also, how’s this all going to be resolved in a timely enough manner so that we can hold elections with new districts this year? Good luck on that one! And meanwhile, how does any current or potential candidate for office know what to do exactly? How do they raise money, plan their campaigns, hire staff, etc? Got me.

    UPDATE #4: As ArlNow points out, ” McDonnell’s veto will throw the races for the 30th and 31st state Senate districts into a state of uncertainty – candidates will have no way of knowing the final boundaries of the district they’re running for.”

    UPDATE #5: Another possibility a very smart, plugged-in Democrat raised to me – what if McDonnell is willing to give up some House Republican seats in order to win control of the State Senate for his last two years in office? That would be a great deal from McDonnell’s perspective, even if a few NOVA Republicans might be feeling a bit nervous right about now.